14 February 2023
To comply with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirements, SARS aims to record all beneficial owners of newly registered Trusts.
The Trust Registration Query tool on SARS Online Query System has been enhanced to allow for the capturing of the beneficial owner’s details. You can access the tool here.
For more information, see the updated Guide for the SARS Online Query System here.
Who are beneficial owners?
Beneficial owners are natural person(s) who ultimately owns or controls a customer and/or the natural person on whose behalf a transaction is being conducted. It also includes those persons who exercise ultimate effective control over a legal person or arrangement. Reference to “ultimately owns or controls” and “ultimate effective control” refer to situations in which ownership/control is exercised through a chain of ownership or by means of control other than direct control. This definition should also apply to beneficial owner or a beneficiary under a life or other investment linked insurance policy.
New requirements in the General Laws Amendment Act
The requirement to disclose beneficial interests was made compulsory through the General Laws Amendment Act as part of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. Financial institutions, including banks and other regulated entities, are required to identify and verify the beneficial owners of their customers as part of their Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures. Companies, trusts and NPOs are now required to maintain and report beneficial ownership information. Beneficial interest disclosure is an important tool for promoting transparency and accountability in South Africa. By requiring individuals and entities to disclose their interests in companies, the law aims to prevent conflicts of interest and to promote a fair and transparent business environment.
Do you want to learn more? Register for CIBA’s free webinar on GLA Act and Its Impact On Accountants here.