What to Know About the Corporate Transparency Act

Corporate Transparency Act And Reporting Requirements

Enacted in 2021, the Corporate Transparency Act goes into effect January 1, 2024. The purpose of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) is to address issues surrounding anonymous shell companies with the overall aim of fostering transparency and accountability. This act imposes new reporting responsibilities on businesses large and small, so it is important business owners are familiar with the new requirements.

Understanding the Corporate Transparency Act

The CTA mandates the disclosure of beneficial ownership information. It requires corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and other similar entities to report details about the individuals who own or control them. The act lays out timelines for when information must be reported are imposes steep fines for failure to report.

Key Provisions of the Corporate Transparency Act

A.  Reporting Requirements

Under the CTA, eligible entities must submit comprehensive information about their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. This information includes names, dates of birth, addresses, and identification numbers of individuals with substantial ownership stakes or controlling interests. This information may be shared with federal and state law enforcement agencies as well as various other government and regulatory agencies.

It is important to note that timelines for reporting are imposed by the act and will differ depending on whether the entity was founded before or after January 1, 2024. Additionally, if ownership changes, then information related to the new owners must be provided within specified time periods as well.

B.  Beneficial Ownership Thresholds

The CTA establishes specific ownership thresholds to determine who qualifies as a beneficial owner. Generally, individuals with a 25% or more ownership interest in a covered entity, or those exercising substantial control, fall under the reporting requirements.

C.  Exemptions and Exceptions

Certain entities, such as publicly traded companies, financial institutions, and small businesses meeting specific criteria, may be exempt from the CTA's reporting requirements. Additionally, there are exceptions for entities with transparent ownership structures or those operating in industries subject to existing regulatory oversight.

The CTA will require most businesses, even small single owner LLCs, to report information to FinCEN. Businesses may face initial challenges with compliance, but it is crucial business owners are aware of the new requirements imposed by the act because failure to report required information may result in fines or imprisonment. Speaking with an experienced business attorney can help you navigate the requirements of the new legislation.

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