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Companies House public register: The UK demands more information from its corporate entities03.02.2023
The UK Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill should receive Royal Assent (that is, become law in the UK) this spring. The new law gives Companies House more investigation and enforcement powers over companies which report incorrect information to the register.
The UK was one of the first countries to require corporate entities to make public their beneficial owners in 2016. Many countries followed this lead. On 22 November 2022 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) passed a judgment in favour of applicants wanting to keep their names private which has caused some EU countries (e.g., the Netherlands and Luxembourg) to suspend, for now, public access to their registers of beneficial owners. Nevertheless, the UK is pressing ahead and seeking to give more powers to its registry (known as “Companies House”) so that it is a more active gatekeeper of accurate company information.
What will change with the new law
The changes are good news. The UK’s register has long been criticised for the ability of criminals to present it with incorrect information. The new law will, amongst other measures, allow Companies House to:
- verify the identity of new and existing directors, owners, and those who deliver documents to it
- share data with law enforcement bodies
- demand any information it wants for verification
- analyse information for the purposes of crime prevention or detection
- impose fines (without any criminal prosecution) for breaches of the laws on the disclosure of information.
The new law will give Companies House more powers to pursue inaccurate company information.Mark Lucas, Partner, Moore Barlow LLP – Member of ECOVIS International, Woking, UK
The Bill also amends the financial disclosures required of small companies by:
- requiring micro-entities (i.e., those with two of a turnover of GBP 632,000 or less, GBP 316,000 or less on their balance sheet, or 10 employees or fewer to file a profit and loss account (not just a balance sheet) and
- requiring small companies (i.e., those with two of a turnover of GBP 10.2 million or less, GBP 5.1 million or less on their balance sheet, or 50 employees or fewer) to file a directors’ report (and unabridged accounts).
Criminal activity will be more difficult
These changes are to be welcomed if they render the UK less open to criminal activity and misleading public information. They signal a change from a laissez-faire approach to an interventionist approach, which will come at a cost. Indeed, the law will be amended to expand the grounds upon which the Secretary of State may determine the fees to be paid to Companies House to include “investigation and enforcement activities that contribute to the maintenance of a healthy business environment”. Ultimately, more accurate, more reliable information will come at a cost to all but we at Moore Barlow are certain that this is as price worth paying.
For further information please contact:
Mark Lucas, Partner, Moore Barlow LLP – Member of ECOVIS International, Woking, UK
Investing in the Cambodian agricultural sector01.02.2023
Ecovis in Cambodia has recently been working with two agricultural companies. The intention is to set up cashew nut wholesale organisations with processing capabilities that will allow small producers to join forces to meet sales and profit goals. They also aim to attract external investors.
With the help of outside investment, Cambodian companies would be able to transform the current setup into an economically viable wholesale, processing and exporting supply chain, which will export a high-margin finished product to markets such as China, Japan, South Korea, Europe and the USA. Currently, these high margins are going to other countries, for example Vietnam, where raw nuts are sold directly. This could therefore be an international game changer.
We support Cambodian companies in finding attractive foreign investors.Murray Macmillan, Director of Financial Advisory, ECOVIS VSDK & Partners, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Producers assume that the cashew nut sector could thus rival the rice market in terms of margin if it can reorganise and keep the profits in Cambodia.
Cashew nuts are only one example of where this initiative can make a difference. It is to be expected that with government support, this service will extend from cashew nuts to other high value crops such as mangos and other fruits grown in Cambodia.
At ECOVIS VSDK
Our services include:
- Helping wholesalers to produce reliable financial information and to turn the financial history into reliable projections
- Assisting with credible business plans
- Assisting as intermediaries with overseas investment companies and agricultural aid associations
- Preparing presentations and documents
- Direct cooperation with external investors, also in English
For further information please contact:
Murray Macmillan, Director of Financial Advisory, ECOVIS VSDK & Partners, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tax exemption for non-resident dependents30.01.2023
The Japanese government has changed the tax laws exempting non-resident dependents from tax. The law came into force on 1 January 2023. The Ecovis experts explain the details.
Taxpayers in Japan are allowed to make a deduction for non-resident dependents from their income. A non-resident dependent is a relative, other than the spouse, who is 16 years of age or older, supported by the taxpayer as part of the taxpayer’s household and whose annual income does not exceed JPY 480,000 (or gross income of JPY 1,030,000 in the case of salary only). The Japanese tax office can verify the above conditions for resident dependents in Japan but is hardly able to check non- resident dependents.
In the 2016 tax reform, a revision was made for a taxpayer to submit or present documents confirming that a non-resident dependent is the taxpayer’s relative, and documents to confirm that the taxpayer has paid the relative’s living or educational expenses. The documentation should be made for each dependent and verified individually. As the income limit for the exemption was based on Japanese domestic source income only, there were still problems with non-resident dependents who received a large amount of income abroad, but no income in Japan. To overcome this, the 2020 tax reform (effective 1 January 2023) more narrowly revised the category of applicable non-resident dependents.
We can support you in getting the tax exemption for non-resident dependents.Kazuhiko Chiba, President, ECOVIS APO, Tokyo, Japan
The tax exemption for non-resident dependents from 2023
- Category of the applicable dependents
Generally, there is no tax exemption for non-resident dependents who are over 30 years of age.
There are exceptions to the general rule above for the following, as these would be less likely to earn any income without support:
- Persons studying abroad who no longer have a domicile or residence in Japan.
- Disabled persons
- Persons who received more than JPY 380,000 from the taxpayer to cover living or educational expense during the year
- Documents required
From 1 January 2023, taxpayers applying for the exemption for their non-resident dependents must submit or present the following documents:
Category of age etc. of non-resident relative When submitting dependent declaration form When submitting year-end tax adjustment documents 16 or older / under 30, or 70 and above Documents confirming relative status Documents confirming expenses 30 or older / under 70 1) studying abroad Documents confirming relative status and visa documents for studying abroad Documents confirming expenses 2) disabled person Documents confirming relative status Documents confirming expenses 3) persons receiving more than JPY 380,000 in support Documents confirming relative status Documents confirming payment of JPY 380,000 or more Person other than ① ② ③ Not qualified for exemption
For further information please contact:
Kazuhiko Chiba, President, ECOVIS APO, Tokyo, Japan