Plans to force a disclosure of the beneficial ownership of all offshore companies buying UK property could make purchasing a property in the UK unattractive. The main purpose for using this vehicle is to protect the identity of the beneficiary for various reasons.
Creating a register of beneficial ownership gives the government a means of identifying individuals who may have not declared all their assets in their tax returns and for many this could result in huge tax bills with heavy penalties for non-disclosure. Obviously penalties would only affect UK tax payers but the whole concept of going behind the corporate veil leaves a bad taste and may be detrimental to London's booming property market.
Offshore companies buying UK property could be forced to reveal their ultimate owners under plans being considered by ministers to crack down on tax evasion and money laundering. The proposals would shine a spotlight on the foreign firms that hold billions of pounds in British property without having to declare who is behind them. It could also require foreign companies bidding for public sector contracts to do the same. David Cameron is already forcing all UK companies to reveal their ultimate owners under the new plans for a register of beneficial ownership from June, so the plans would bring foreign owners of British property into line with those rules.