NOTICE TO CLIENTS – LAND OWNER TRANSPARENCY
By November 30, 2022, every “reporting body” as defined under the Land Owner Transparency Act (“LOTA”) that owns land in BC, including relevant corporations, trusts and partnerships, will be required to file a Transparency Report if it has not already done so. On November 2, 2021 the Provincial Government extended the deadline from November 30, 2021 to November 30, 2022, to allow more time for reporting bodies to collect the necessary information to file the Report.
This Land Owner Transparency Registry is IN ADDITION to the Corporate Transparency Register that many of our clients completed throughout 2020 and early 2021.
The LOTA initially came into force last year on November 30, 2020 and creates a publicly searchable database containing information about specified individuals who hold an indirect interest in land through a corporation, trust or partnership. It was implemented by the Provincial Government to combat money laundering in the Province, and the Government has not allowed for the general public to file Transparency Reports without assistance from a lawyer or notary public in British Columbia who has an account with the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia.
Failure to file a Transparency Report by November 30, 2022 could result in fines being levied against the corporation or other reporting body under LOTA. Please note that the obligation to file a Transparency Report by November 30, 2022 applies only to corporations, trusts (including a bare trust where an individual holds title for the benefit of another person or entity) and partnerships, such that individuals who hold land in their personal capacity are not required to file a Report.
Note above that the provincial Government has not allowed for the general public to file Transparency Reports with the Land Title and Survey Authority (“LTSA”) without assistance from a lawyer or notary public. Due to the Province’s previous November 31, 2021 deadline for filing the Transparency Report, it was anticipated that the rush to file the Reports by then would have exceed the availability of legal professionals in BC. It is important to note that the Report filings are subject to complex legislation and can be over 20 pages in length, so that preparation and filing of the Report will not normally be a simple process. So even with the recent extension being granted, it is still a good idea to contact a lawyer or notary sooner than later to start what can be a time-consuming process.
Please note that Baker Newby LLP does not track property ownership for current or former clients automatically, and that we will require specific instructions and information to proceed with preparing your Transparency Report documents. Due to the complicated information that must be collected and reviewed, we anticipate a great demand for our services, and have assigned a dedicated lawyer, Milad Javdan, and a dedicated staff member to assist him with the filings.
Fees for preparing and filing a simple Transparency Report will typically range from $300 to $500 plus taxes and disbursements for each Report, but more complex structures will be billed at the lawyer’s hourly rate for the time involved, and we would be pleased to provide an estimate of such fees on a case-by-case basis.
If you would like to retain us to assist with filing any required Transparency Report, please complete the Transparency Register Checklist at www.bakernewby.com and return it to our office in accordance with the instructions on the Checklist. We will contact you if any further information or due diligence may be required by us in order to prepare the Transparency Report for you.