As of 1 September 2018, service providers to companies will be obliged to register in advance with the Federal Public Service Economy. This registration is subject to a number of additional conditions. Anyone who violates this new legislation runs the risk of being fined between EUR 250 and 250 000.
A service provider to companies is regarded as any natural or legal person who offers one of the following services to third parties on a professional basis:
- Participating in the purchase or sale of the shares of a non-listed company
- To provide a registered office to a company, legal entity or similar legal arrangement
- Providing a business, administrative or correspondence address and other related services to an company, legal entity or similar legal arrangement
Accountants, tax consultants, lawyers, civil-law notaries, auditors, credit institutions and insurers are not required to register.
In addition, a number of special conditions must be met with regard to the aforementioned direct debit services. These conditions are integrally aimed at ensuring that the address is not an ordinary mailbox, but an effective seat where meetings can also be held.
A transitional measure is provided for in respect of service providers to companies which were already carrying out the aforementioned services before the entry into force of the Law. They are given six months after the entry into force of the law to submit their application. This application for registration is made to the Federal Public Service for the Economy, which decides within 60 days of receipt of a complete file. In the meantime, the activities may continue to be carried out.