Land Owner Transparency Registry
Effective November 30, 2020, the Land Owner Transparency Act (British Columbia) (“LOTA”) came into force, introducing certain disclosure obligations regarding beneficial ownership of land in British Columbia. LOTA requires certain owners of land to file a “Transparency Report” with the newly created Land Owner Transparency Registry (“LOTR”) by November 30, 2022 (amended).
Who has to file?
Unless exempt, all corporations, trusts and partnerships (“Reporting Bodies”) with a registered “interest in land” (defined below) in British Columbia, must file a Transparency Report.
Individuals who own land solely in their personal capacity (e.g, not as a trustee or on behalf of a partnership) are not required to file a Transparency Report.
What is an interest in land?
LOTA requires Reporting Bodies who own the following “interest in land” to file a Transparency Report:
- an estate in fee simple;
- a life estate in land;
- a right to occupy land under a lease that has a term of more than 10 years;
- a right under an agreement for sale to
- occupy land, or
- require the transfer of an estate in fee simple;
- a prescribed estate, right or interest;
What must be disclosed?
Reporting Bodies must file a Transparency Report disclosing all “interest holders” of the Reporting Body and personal information of same, including the social insurance number, birthdate, residency, citizenship and other personal information.
Who is an “Interest Holder”?
An “interest holder” refers to an individual that is a beneficial owner or other indirect owner of an “interest in land “(i.e. shareholders and directors of a company, partners of a partnership, trustees and beneficiaries of a trust).
For simple ownership structures, determining who the interest holders are is typically fairly straight forward. For complex ownership structures, determining who the interest holders are may require an in-depth analysis.
When must a Transparency Report be filed?
Reporting Bodies must file a Transparency Report in the following circumstances:
- Acquisition of land – Reporting Bodies that acquire land must file a Transparency Report with the application to transfer land on the closing date;
- Pre-existing land owners – Reporting Bodies that own an interest in land prior to November 20, 2020, must file a Transparency Report by November 30, 2022 (amended);
- Registered Owners who become a Reporting Body after November 30, 2021 – If a registered owner of land becomes a Reporting Body after November 30, 2020, it must file a Transparency Report by November 30, 2021;
- Change in Interest Holders- Reporting Bodies must file a Transparency Report each time the interest holder(s) in a reporting body change;
- Incapacity – Reporting Bodies must file a Transparency Report when a determination of incapacity has been made in respect to an interest holder or settlor;
- Incorrect Information – Reporting Bodies must file a Transparency Report to correct or complete information contained in a previously filed Transparency Report within two months from when it becomes aware of the inaccurate or incomplete information (or from the date the Reporting Body ought to have become aware of same).
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
LOTA imposes fines for failing to file a transparency report, as well as for filing a Transparency Report that contains false or misleading information. Such fines are the greater of:
- $50,000 for a corporation, or $25,000 for an individual; or
- 15% of the assessed value of the property to which the transparency report relates.
Further, there may be additional fines imposed on directors, officers, managers or agents of a corporation who authorize, permit or participate in the commission of an offence by the corporation.
Who can file a Transparency Report in the LOTR?
Transparency Reports must be filed by a legal professional. If you require assistance completing and filing a Transparency Report, please contact us at 604-688-4900 or by email to Paul Barbeau at email@example.com or to Morgan Best at firstname.lastname@example.org