LOTR Update: New Deadline
Before we start – here’s a recap of relevant dates and terms related to the LOTA and this update:
November 30, 2020: This is the date that the LOTA came into effect in B.C. Following that date, any and all land transfers in B.C. would require a Transparency Declaration to be filed by the (new) owners of the property being transferred.
Reporting Bodies: Any owner of land who is also a “relevant corporation,” “relevant partnership” or “relevant trust” (as per the definitions set out in the LOTA – see more on those terms here and here) is required to file a Transparency Report disclosing the people who control or have a beneficial interest in the property being transferred.
Transparency Report: The LOTA requires that a Reporting Body that owns property in B.C. disclose various pieces of identifying information about the people who are interest holders in the Reporting Body – interest holders can be shareholders, directors, and trust beneficiaries. In complex ownership structures, it may be necessary to drill down through the ownership structure of multiple companies and trusts to identify the individuals who are the ultimate interest holders who must be disclosed on a Transparency Report.
ID Requirements: In a Transparency Report, Reporting Bodies are required to disclose the personal information of the interest holders, including the interest holder’s citizenship, residency, birth date, social insurance number, full legal name, and other information.
November 30, 2021: When the LOTA became law in B.C. on November 30, 2020, only transfers which took place after that date needed to include a Transparency Declaration and (if needed) a Transparency Report. However, the LOTA and its corresponding Regulations, indicated that on November 30, 2021, any Reporting Bodies that owned property in B.C. before November 30, 2020 and who had not transferred that property before November 30, 2021 (these owners are sometimes referred to as “pre-existing owners”), would have to make the related filings with the LOTR in order to comply with the LOTA.
Penalties: Failure of a Reporting Body who was also a pre-existing owner to file a Transparency Report by November 30, 2021 could have resulted in administrative penalties to the Reporting Bodies of the greater of $25,000 or 5% of the assessed value of the subject property, in the case of an individual or the greater of $50,000 or 5% of the assessed value of the subject property, in the case of a company, partnership or trust.
Filing Deadline Extended:
On November 2, 2021, the B.C. Government-issued an information bulletin regarding the approaching November 30, 2021 deadline extending it to November 30, 2022. The Bulletin states: “The B.C. government will be extending the deadline for pre-existing owners to file with the Land Owner Transparency Registry, giving reporting bodies with an interest in land more time to file a transparency report without incurring penalties.”
As a result, there is no longer any obligation for Reporting Bodies who are also pre-existing owners to file a Transparency Report by November 30, 2021. That deadline to file the necessary reports has been extended to November 30, 2022.
A couple of points for clarification:
- If a Reporting Body has sold the property in B.C. since November 30, 2020, and does not own the property anymore, that Reporting Body does not need to file a Transparency Report for that property since it is no longer the owner;
- An individual who owns property in B.C. in their personal capacity (that is, not as a trustee, bare trustee, or on behalf of a partnership) is not required to file a Transparency Report as a pre-existing owner; and
- If an individual holds property in B.C. in trust as a trustee or bare trustee or is on title of the property in relation to a partnership, that individual will very likely be required to file a Transparency Report before November 30, 2022 deadline.
This article is a summary of a complex piece of legislation. It is meant to cover only the highlights. For more information or help, Linley Welwood’s lawyers and staff are here to assist with any questions about upcoming deadlines or whether a company, partnership, or trust you are connected to should be thinking about filing a Transparency Report before the revised deadline of November 30, 2022.
© Linley Welwood LLP. The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice. Readers should seek legal advice in relation to their own specific circumstances.