ATTENTION ALL CORPORATIONS, TRUSTS AND INDIVIDUALS HOLDING PROPERTY IN TRUST IN BRITISH COLUMBIA:
All relevant corporations, partnerships, and trusts in British Columbia with an ownership interest in land in British Columbia must file a Land Owner Transparency Report (“Transparency Report”) on or before November 30, 2021.
The Land Owner Transparency Act (“LOTA”) recently came into force, creating the Land Owner Transparency Registry (“LOTR”), with the objective of making land ownership more “transparent” in British Columbia. The LOTR is a publicly searchable registry that maintains information about “interest holders” of land or certain interests in land in British Columbia. Interest holders are individuals who directly or indirectly (through a corporation, trust, partnership, or other intermediary) own or control land in British Columbia. Examples of interest holders are: shareholders, partners, trustees, beneficiaries, or beneficial owners under a bare trust.
Information about the interest holders in land is disclosed to the LOTR by filing a Transparency Report, which provides additional information about the interest holders¬—some of which becomes publicly available (such as name and citizenship) and some of which is private (such as date of birth and social insurance number).
The Transparency Report will require disclosure of the relevant property, the type of ownership (ex. corporate owner, trust or partnership), identification information for any corporation or partnership involved in the property ownership, and identification information for all “interest holders” or individuals with an ownership interest in the land. Often it will be relatively straightforward to determine the information required to be disclosed in a Transparency report; however, in circumstances where multiple corporate owners or complex trusts are involved it may be more difficult and time consuming to determine who the ultimate “interest holders” will be.
If I am registered on title to my principal residence, do I have to file a Transparency Report?
Still unsure whether you need to file a Transparency Report? The title holders in reddish pink in the below image all have to file a Transparency Report:
What is a “beneficial owner”?
A beneficial owner is someone who has the right to the benefits associated with a property. If you are the owner registered on title of a property and you have the right to control who lives there and how the property is dealt with (for example, living there yourself or renting it out), you are said to have: (1) ‘registered ownership’ (because you’re on title) and (2) ‘beneficial ownership’ (because you enjoy the benefits of that property).
If you are the registered owner of a property but you hold the property in trust for your company, so that income and expenses of the property belong to the company, then your company is said to be the ‘beneficial owner’ of that property.
The beneficial owner is often the person who actually paid to purchase the property, and is the person who reports any income or gains associated with the property on their income taxes.
When is the deadline for filing a Transparency Report?
November 30, 2021.
What is the penalty for not filing a Transparency Report?
Failing to file a Transparency Report or providing false or misleading information in a Transparency Report may be subject to a fine of the greater of:
a. $50,000 for a corporation or other entity, or $25,000 for individual; OR
b. 15% of the assessed value of the property to which the transparency declaration or transparency report relates.
Are any trusts excluded from having to file a Transparency Report?
Yes, there is no requirement to file for a Charitable Trust, Alter Ego Trust, or Testamentary Trust
Are any types of corporations excluded from having to file a Transparency Report?
Yes, there is no requirement to file for a Strata corporation, Government body, Local governments, or schools.
Can Bell Alliance LLP help me with this filing?
Yes, you can fill out our secure online LOTR form
How can I learn more?
More information about the LOTA and LOTR can be found on our website and on the Government of BC’s website. If you are unsure about whether the LOTR applies to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us a firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 604-873-8723.
We are here to help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out should you have any questions about the filing process.
The Team at Bell Alliance LLP