Beneficial owner

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A beneficial owner of a bank account or bank balance is the person for whose account the account is kept. This attribution rule follows the principle of the economic approach , which is based only on the economic result in an assessment of the facts. The term is used in connection with the fight against money laundering and tax evasion . The EU Interest Regulation speaks largely congruently of the beneficial owner .

Duty to verify legitimacy

Banks , insurance companies and others are obliged to carry out a legitimation check of the customer when opening accounts and certain transactions . They are obliged to ask the customer whether he is acting for his own account or for someone else's account ( Section 11 (1) of the Money Laundering Act ). If the customer states that he is acting on behalf of a third party, the bank must inquire about and document the beneficial owner. The beneficial owner does not have to identify himself or herself. The customer's specification is sufficient here. However, the bank must not accept information that is manifestly false or implausible.

Escrow accounts

When paying a purchase price for real estate via a notary's other account , both buyer and seller can be viewed as beneficial owners. The Federal Chamber of Notaries recommends specifying both as beneficial owners. Trust accounts are often opened in advance without the authorized person being certain when the account is opened. In this case, the beneficial owner is named at the time of allocation.

Notification of the beneficial owner

Banks are obliged to report not only the account holder and the authorized representative but also the beneficial owner as part of the account retrieval procedure .

As part of the Interest Information Ordinance , a control notification of certain interest income for EU foreigners is sent to the tax office of residence. The account holder is not to be referred to, but to the specified beneficial owner.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. BT print. 12/2704 Draft of a law on the tracking of profits from serious criminal offenses (Profit Tracking Act - GewAufspG) of May 29, 1992, p. 16.
  2. ↑ Recommendations for use by the Federal Chamber of Notaries on the Act on the Tracking of Profits from Serious Crimes (Money Laundering Act - GwG) , as of April 2012.