What is beneficial ownership?

A beneficial owner is the real person, made of flesh and blood, who ultimately owns, controls or receives profits from a company or legal vehicle, even when the company, on paper, legally belongs to another person, like an accountant or a shell company. Companies must typically register the identities of their legal owners, but not necessarily their beneficial owners. In most cases, a company’s legal owner and beneficial owner are the same person but when they’re not, it can be almost impossible to tell who is truly running and profiting from a company, and whether they’re abiding by the law and paying the right amount of tax.

By requiring beneficial owners to be registered just like legal owners, beneficial ownership registration laws make sure individuals cannot hide behind convoluted corporate structures to avoid accountability and underpay tax.

Lear more about beneficial ownership here.