The phrase “Corporate Transparency Act” is quite possibly unfamiliar to you at this time
(October 2023), but if you run a business entity in the U.S., you will certainly be hearing about it in the coming months. The regulations are not fully-formed at this writing, but my goal here is just to give you the gist so you are aware of what is coming down the pike.

  • The purpose of this regulation is to enable the federal government to combat money laundering and other illegal activities that use business entities as shell companies. As of now, a Certificate of Formation filed in Delaware, for example, typically contains no information about the entity’s ownership and management, so law enforcement needs to use additional tools to obtain information.
  • The Act will require entities to file a form with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) containing basic identifying information (name, home address, copy of ID, etc.) about each beneficial owner of 25% of the entity and those who exercise substantial control over the entity, and then update the form when there are changes.
  • The personal information on the form will be available to law enforcement and national security personnel, not to the general public.
  • The filing requirement applies to all domestic and foreign entities (yes, including that single-member LLC you formed for your consulting work on the side), except for a laundry list of exempt entities that are subject to existing regulation already, such as banks and insurance companies, as well as larger companies (more than 20 full-time employees, located in the U.S. and over $5 million in annual sales).
  • The filing requirement will go into effect on January 1, 2024 for newly formed entities after that date. Existing entities will have to comply sometime during that year, before January 1, 2025.

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