Register of overseas entities

Accountants are now expected to ensure that land or property owned by non-UK clients has been registered with Companies House

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Companies House has shared important information for ACCA’s members about the Register of Overseas Entities.

As part of the government’s strategy to combat economic crime, the provisions of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 include a new Register of Overseas Entities.

Held by Companies House, the register was launched on 1 August and requires overseas entities that own UK land or property to declare their beneficial owners or managing officers. Failure to comply will lead to a range of penalties for managing officers, including restrictions on buying, selling, transferring, leasing or charging land in the UK, daily fines of up to £500 and up to five years in prison. 

Overseas entities that have bought property or land on or after 1 January 1999 in England and Wales and 8 December 2014 in Scotland have until 31 January 2023 to register. In Northern Ireland, registration is only required for property or land bought on or after 1 August 2022.

Entities that have disposed of property or land in the UK after 28 February 2022 must also provide details, even if they are no longer required to register with Companies House.

Prior to registration, a UK-regulated agent must carry out verification checks on beneficial owners and managing officers. Companies House advises that it will be quicker and easier for an overseas entity to use the same agent for both registration and verification. Verification checks must be completed no more than three months before the overseas entity is registered.

Agents must be based in the UK, supervised under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017, and must not provide in-house services to the overseas entity.

In order to file verification statements, agents must complete and sign a statement confirming that they have carried out checks. To do this, they will require an assurance code from Companies House, which acts as the equivalent of a signature. If the agent is an organisation, only one code is required.

The following information about the agent will be publicly available on the Register of Overseas Entities:

  • name
  • address
  • supervisory body
  • anti-money laundering registration number (if applicable)
  • name of the person with overall responsibility for verification checks (if an organisation).

More information

Read Companies House’s guidance and factsheet on registering an overseas entity. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has also published detailed technical guidance on the requirements.

If you have further questions, you can email