The Law No. 106 of 30/11/2018 (hereinafter), published in the Official Gazette No 52 dated December 6, 2018, has defined the “beneficial owner” as follows: a Beneficial Owner is any natural person, who actually and ultimately owns or controls, directly or indirectly, an activity implemented by any natural person or legal entity on the Lebanese territory, regardless of his place of residence.
Under this law, public authorities, public institutions and municipalities, as well as private sector authorities are required to cooperate with the tax authorities and to provide them with the information they request.
Moreover, taxpayers subject to actual, fixed and estimated profit regime, as well as taxpayers exempted from income tax but subject to VAT, should keep a special register related to the beneficial owners. These taxpayers have also the obligation to preserve the documents certifying the ownership structure of the legal entity and thus, for a period of 10 years, even after the loss of the status of beneficial owner or even after cessation of the activity by the concerned legal entity.
The law also requires the following:
– Any declaration of beginning of activity must specify the name of the beneficial owner.
-Any change or modification of the information related to the beneficial owner must be reported to the tax authorities.
However, one of the most important provisions of the said law remains in the sanctions and penalties imposed on any person who fails to disclose information relating to the beneficial owner of the shares of a corporation or members’ shares of a partnership or the beneficial owner of any activity. These penalties apply to both persons who act for the benefit of the beneficial owner and to those who are responsible for completing and submitting the declarations provided for by the laws in force to the tax authorities.