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What is the Central Beneficiary Register? Find out more

28 ФЕВРАЛЯ 2024
Mercado Imobiliário Portugal Tribunal Despesas Finanças Glossário
Discover the measure aimed at preventing illegal activities and identifying the true beneficiaries of organisations, which has been in force since 2017.
What is the Central Beneficiary Register? Find out more
Source: Freepik
Author: Redaction

In an effort to guarantee transparency and combat illicit activities in the business world, the Central Registry of Beneficial Owners (RCBE) was established in Portugal in 2017. This initiative came about in response to the need to clearly identify the individuals who hold control and ownership of legal entities, covering a broad spectrum of organisations, from companies to associations and foundations.

Since its implementation, the RCBE has become a mandatory step for all business entities, playing a crucial role in preventing and combating fraudulent practices. In this context, it is essential to understand the purpose and procedures associated with this register, as well as the implications of not complying with it.

What is the Central Register of Beneficial Owners (RCBE)?

Established in 2017, the RCBE is a database that identifies all natural persons who have ownership or effective control of legal entities in Portugal, with the aim of increasing transparency and preventing the misuse of entities for illicit purposes.

This register applies to various entities such as companies, associations, foundations, business entities, civil societies, co-operatives or trusts in Portugal.

Who are the beneficial owners?

Beneficial owners are natural persons who effectively control a legal entity in Portugal, through ownership of shareholdings or other means.

According to the portal of the Commission for the Coordination of Policies to Prevent and Combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, the following are considered beneficial owners of corporate entities:
  • Natural persons who have direct or indirect ownership or control of a sufficient percentage (25 per cent in the case of corporate entities) of shares or voting rights or participation in the capital of a legal person;
  • Natural persons who exercise control over a legal person by other means;
  • Natural persons who hold the top management position (manager, director or direct), if no person has been identified under the previous terms or if there are doubts that the person or persons identified are the beneficial owners.

Who registers?

All entities incorporated in Portugal, or intending to do business in Portugal, must complete the RCBE declaration within 30 days of incorporating the company. It can be filled in by lawyers, solicitors, notaries, certified accountants, managers and administrators.

When should the RCBE declaration be filed?

1. Initial declaration:

Within 30 days of setting up the company, registering with the Central Registry of Legal Entities or assigning a TIN.

2. Updating the Initial Information:

Whenever there are changes to the data declared, also within 30 days.

3. Annual confirmation:

By 31 December each year, if there are no changes. If there are changes in the same calendar year, confirmation is not required.

Consequences of non-compliance

Failure to submit this declaration prevents organisations from:
  • Distributing profits for the year or making advances on profits during the year;
  • Entering into contracts for supplies, public works contracts or the acquisition of services and goods with the state, public institutes, local authorities and private social solidarity institutions mainly funded by the state budget;
  • Bid for public service concessions;
  • Admit financial instruments representing its share capital to trading on a regulated market;
  • Launch public offers for the distribution of any financial instruments it issues;
  • Benefit from support from European structural and investment funds and public funds;
  • Intervening as a party in any transaction involving the transfer of ownership, whether for a consideration or free of charge, or the creation, acquisition or disposal of any other real rights of enjoyment or guarantee over any immovable property.

These prohibitions also include civil and criminal liability and publicising non-compliance on the RCBE website.

Are you clear? Discover more topics like this in SUPERCASA Notícias
Mercado Imobiliário Portugal Tribunal Despesas Finanças Glossário
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