FinCEN Beneficial Owner Report Due Date

On September 30, 2022, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network finalized and published Corporate Transparency Act Treasury Regulation 31 CFR § 1010.380.  This regulation provides the following deadlines for filing beneficial owner reports with FinCEN:

  • All reporting companies formed before 2024 must file their initial FinCEN report not later than January 1, 2025.
  • All reporting companies formed after 2023 must file their FinCEN report not later than 30 days after the entity was formed/created.
  • Amendments to a FinCEN report must be filed within thirty days after the event that requires the reporting company to file the amended FinCEN report.
2022-10-04T07:39:04-07:00By |

FinCEN Issues Final Rule for Beneficial Ownership Reporting

On September 29, 2022, FinCEN issued the following press release:

“Today, the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) took a historic step in support of U.S. government efforts to crack down on illicit finance and enhance transparency by issuing a final rule establishing a beneficial ownership information reporting requirement, pursuant to the bipartisan Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). The rule will require most corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities created in or registered to do business in the United States to report information about their beneficial owners—the persons who ultimately own or control the company, to FinCEN. Designed to protect U.S. national security and strengthen the integrity and transparency of the U.S. financial system, the rule will help to stop criminal actors, including oligarchs, kleptocrats, drug traffickers, human traffickers, and those who would use anonymous shell companies to hide their illicit proceeds.

“For too long, it has been far too easy for criminals, Russian oligarchs, and other bad actors to fund their illicit activity by hiding and moving money through anonymous shell companies and other corporate structures right here in the United States,” said Acting FinCEN Director Himamauli Das. “This final rule is a significant step forward in our efforts to support national security, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies in their work to curb illicit activities. The final rule will also play an important role in protecting American taxpayers and businesses who play by the rules, but are repeatedly hurt by criminals that use companies for illegal reasons.”

This final rule represents the culmination of years of bipartisan efforts by Congress, the Treasury, national security agencies, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to bolster the United States’ corporate transparency framework. It addresses deficiencies in the U.S. anti-money laundering regime as identified by the Financial Action Task Force—the international standard-setting body for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction standards—and delivers on commitments made by the United States ahead of the December 2021 Summit for Democracy and in the first-ever U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption.

The rule is effective January 1, 2024. Reporting companies created or registered before January 1, 2024, will have one year (until January 1, 2025) to file their initial reports, while reporting companies created or registered after January 1, 2024, will have 30 days after creation or registration to file their initial reports. Once the initial report has been filed, both existing and new reporting companies will have to file updates within 30 days of a change in their beneficial ownership information. FinCEN is committed to implementing these statutory obligations in a robust manner while minimizing burdens on reporting companies.

The reporting rule is one of three rulemakings planned to implement the CTA. FinCEN will engage in additional rulemakings to: (1) establish rules for who may access beneficial ownership information, for what purposes, and what safeguards will be required to ensure that the information is secured and protected; and (2) revise FinCEN’s customer due diligence rule. In addition, FinCEN continues to develop the infrastructure to administer these requirements, including the information technology system that will be used to store beneficial ownership information in accordance with the strict security and confidentiality requirements of the CTA.”

See Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Rule Fact Sheet.

2022-10-01T08:35:41-07:00By |

Federal Government Incompetence with No End in Sight

The Corporate Transparency Act became a law on January 1, 2021.  The CTA provided that it would become effective January 1, 2022.  This law requires almost all existing companies formed in the United States since the U.S. became a country to file a report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) that discloses information about each of the company’s “beneficial” owners.  A beneficial owner is a person, entity or trust that own 25% or more of the company or who has substantial control of the company.

These FinCEN filings must disclose the following five items of information about each beneficial owner:

  1. name
  2. address
  3. birth date
  4. number from a driver’s license or passport
  5. picture of the driver’s license or passport.

That’s it.  The organization that is supposed to protect all Americans, the U.S. government, has been unable for 21 months to create a system to collect five tiny items of information.

A recent article called “New US company owner database ‘taking way too long’ to implement, experts warn” says:

“Experts say the Treasury Department is badly behind schedule in implementing the law mandating the government to collect ownership data from companies operating in the United States. . . . There is a lot of anxiety that the Biden administration will take the whole four years to finalize the rules setting up the beneficial ownership registry . . . . FinCEN has only proposed one of the three sets of rules needed to launch the ownership database. And even this first set — governing how the data will be collected and who must report company ownership — hasn’t been finalized”

2022-09-26T08:28:25-07:00By |

25+ Million Entities Must File a FinCEN Report Required by the Corporate Transparency Act

During a Senate Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith questioned Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo about the Biden administration’s actions that added new regulatory burdens on small businesses.  Senator Hyde-Smith also told Adeyemo that the Corporate Transparency Act imposes financial and compliance burdens on small businesses.  The CTA created a Beneficial Ownership Database that is intended to help fight financial crimes by bringing transparency with respect to who forms, owns, and controls American businesses and foreign entities that do business in the United States.  Hyde-Smith said:

“Treasury estimates the proposed rules to implement the Corporate Transparency Act will require more than 25 million existing small businesses to spend an aggregate of more than $4 billion to submit reports on their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.  A lot of people really see this as an extra mandate and as extra work.  I hope that it does prove to be a very beneficial tool at addressing this issue, because it will be extremely burdensome for a lot of people.”

2022-06-20T14:53:03-07:00By |

Senators’ Letter to Treasury Secretary Criticizing FinCEN’s Failure to Finalize the Corporate Transparency Act

On May 10, 2022, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Acting Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Himamauli Das regarding the delayed implementation of Rubio’s Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), which was signed into law in 2020 (P.L. 116-283).  Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) also signed the letter.

“The Treasury Department has yet to finalize the implementation of the CTA—or even set a timetable for its completion,” the senators wrote. “In various hearings last month, both of you could only commit to proposing the second CTA rule by the end of ‘this year.’ These delays run contrary to the clear instructions of Congress, undermine American efforts to respond to Russia’s war against Ukraine, and hinder broader efforts to protect the U.S. financial system against the threat of illicit finance.” 

The text of the letter is below.

Dear Secretary Yellen and Director Das:

We write to urge the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to swiftly implement the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA).

Passed by Congress last year, the CTA is landmark legislation to upgrade our country’s anti-money laundering laws. “For years, experts routinely ranked anonymous shell companies— where the true, ‘beneficial’ owners are unknown—as the biggest weakness in our anti-money laundering safeguards.” The CTA directly tackled this problem by requiring FinCEN to create a national registry of beneficial owners of companies within the United States, bolstering our nation’s efforts to combat kleptocracy, transnational crime, terrorism, and other illicit activity.

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has only amplified the importance of the CTA. The federal government cannot properly implement sanctions against Putin and his oligarchs if it does not know the full extent of their holdings. But recent reporting suggests that the Treasury Department presently lacks this information, underscoring the urgent need for beneficial ownership disclosure as required by the CTA to protect America’s financial stability and national security.

Nevertheless, the Treasury Department has yet to finalize the implementation of the CTA —or even set a timetable for its completion. We appreciate that FinCEN is working with limited resources, and Congress is working to remedy that through the appropriations process. Still, over four months after the statutory deadline for implementation, FinCEN has only proposed one of its three CTA rules. In various hearings last month, both of you could only commit to proposing the second CTA rule by the end of “this year.” These delays run contrary to the clear instructions of Congress, undermine American efforts to respond to Russia’s war against Ukraine, and hinder broader efforts to protect the U.S. financial system against the threat of illicit finance.

For these reasons, we respectfully request that FinCEN immediately accelerate its implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act and provide an update and a detailed timeline on your efforts to do so no later than May 23, 2022. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

2022-05-16T07:39:11-07:00By |

Senators’ Letter to FinCEN Asking It to Implement the Corporate Transparency Act

On May 5, 2022, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a bipartisan comment to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) encouraging the efficient, effective implementation of a beneficial ownership reporting system, as required by the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA).

The comment is below.

To Whom It May Concern,

We write in response to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding to the implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), enacted into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.  As a bipartisan group of senators, we encourage FinCEN to implement a strong, efficient, and effective system that respects congressional intent.

The passage of the CTA marked the culmination of a years-long effort in Congress to combat money laundering, international corruption, and kleptocracy by requiring certain companies to disclose their beneficial owners to law enforcement, national security officials, and financial institutions with customer due diligence obligations.  During that time, Congress held numerous hearings across a host of committees, sought input from key stakeholders, worked with officials from both the Obama and Trump administrations, and considered multiple pieces of related legislation and models from other nations.

In crafting the CTA, Congress negotiated many complex policy issues, including what information would be reported, how that information would be collected, and who would have access to it.  We and other drafters of this law sought to strike the proper balance between collecting accurate and useful information and not overburdening businesses with compliance obligations.  In the end, the CTA also received strong support from a vast and diverse stakeholder coalition, including law enforcement, national security experts, the business community, the real estate community, the financial sector, and non-governmental organizations.

In light of the broad support for the CTA, we urge FinCEN to take all steps to ensure that the beneficial collection system reflects Congress’s intent that the system produce high-quality data and that authorized users have timely access to that data.  To achieve this, FinCEN should be mindful not to leave loopholes that could dilute the quality of the information collected or allow bad actors to evade reporting.  Additionally, the information is only useful if authorized users are able to efficiently access the data.  As such, FinCEN should ensure that authorized users, including law enforcement and national security officials, and financial institutions with customer consent, have early, timely, and full access to beneficial ownership information.  The access procedures should build on existing protocols and those provided for in the legislation and should avoid creating redundant hurdles that would unnecessarily delay access.

In short, the CTA is the product of a sensitive and painstaking legislative process, and its passage represents perhaps the most important anti-money laundering reform of the past decade.  Despite the legislative success, this achievement can only be realized if the system works in practice.  As such, we encourage FinCEN to implement a straightforward, efficient, and effective system and to do so promptly.

2022-05-16T07:43:05-07:00By |

FinCEN’s Acting Director Testifies before Congress

FinCEN Director Him Das testified on April 28, 2022, before the House Committee on Financial Services.  Very little of his written statement dealt with the Corporate Transparency Act.  He closed by saying:

“In closing, timely and effective implementation of the AML Act, which includes the CTA, is a top priority. . . . limited resources have presented significant challenges to meeting the implementation requirements of our expanded mandate under the AML Act, including the CTA’s beneficial ownership requirements. As you are aware, we are missing deadlines, and we will likely continue to do so. FinCEN’s budget situation has required prioritization across the board, but we are working hard to meet our obligations.

See his prepared statement.

2022-05-16T08:07:21-07:00By |

Why You Should Get a FinCEN Identifier

Question: Should I get a FinCEN Identifier?

Answer:  It depends.  If you do not own 25% or more of a reporting company and do not control a reporting company you do not need a FinCEN identifier.  However, if you own 25% or more of more than one reporting company or have substantial control of more than one reporting company I recommend that you get a FinCEN identifier because it will make it very simple for you to give your personal information to reporting companies.

Instead of giving a reporting company your legal name, birth date, business or residence address and number from your driver’s license, state id card or passport you merely give the reporting company your FinCEN identifier.

Hire Us to Get You a FinCEN Identifier

Go to our FinCEN identifier page to hire us to get your FinCEN identifier.

2022-02-27T16:30:11-07:00By |

What is a FinCEN Identifier?

Question:  What is a FinCEN identifier?

Answer: A FinCEN identifier is a code issued by FinCEN to a person or an entity that can be used to identify the person or entity in a FinCEN report.  When a FinCEN identifier is used in a FinCEN report that required information about the beneficial owner or applicant does not have to be included in the report.

2022-02-27T16:32:26-07:00By |

What if a Trust Owns a Reporting Company?

Question:  If a Trust owns 25% or more of a reporting company is the trustee a beneficial owner of the reporting company?

Answer:  Yes.  A beneficial owner of a reporting company is any individual who, directly or indirectly, through any contract, arrangement, understanding, relationship, or otherwise exercises substantial control over the entity or owns or controls not less than 25 percent of the ownership interests of the reporting company.

The trustee of a trust is the legal owner of the trust’s assets.  Normally the trustee’s ownership of a reporting company will satisfy the criteria set forth above, which makes the trustee a beneficial owner of the reporting company and the trustee’s information must be disclosed on the reporting company’s FinCEN report.

All trustees of a trust that satisfies the criteria set forth above are beneficial owners of the reporting company.  If Homer and Marge Simpson are trustees of their family estate planning trust that owns 25% or more of a reporting company then both of them must disclose their information on the reporting company’s FinCEN report.

2022-02-27T16:14:05-07:00By |
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