Small businesses are vital to our economy, and it’s important for business owners to stay informed about legislative changes. The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) is a significant new law aimed at enhancing transparency and combating illicit activities within the corporate world. In this blog post, we’ll explain how it impacts small businesses.

What is the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA)?

The Corporate Transparency Act, part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, promotes corporate transparency by requiring companies to disclose their beneficial owners. This helps prevent financial crimes and fosters accountability in the corporate world.

Who Does the CTA Affect?

The CTA primarily affects businesses operating in the United States. It applies to new and existing entities, including corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and similar legal structures. Its provisions affect small businesses as well as larger corporations.

Key Provisions of the Corporate Transparency Act:

1. Beneficial Ownership Reporting:

Businesses must now report their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

2. Definition of Beneficial Owners:

Beneficial owners own, control, or benefit from the company’s activities. The Act defines beneficial owners as individuals who hold at least a 25% ownership stake in the business or exercise substantial control over it.

3. Privacy Concerns:

To address privacy concerns, the Act restricts public access to beneficial ownership information, making it accessible only to law enforcement, federal agencies, and financial institutions.

4. Penalties for Non-compliance of the CTA:

Failure to comply with the CTA can result in fines and even imprisonment for individuals involved in non-compliant businesses.

5. CTA Timing:

The reporting requirements for entities existing as of December 31, 2023, are delayed until January 1, 2025. However, entities formed on or after January 1, 2024, will be subject to these rules and required to report no later than 30 days after the entity is formed.

How Small Businesses Can Prepare:

1. Identify Beneficial Owners:

According to the Act, small business owners should identify who qualifies as beneficial owners. This might include majority shareholders, top executives, or others who meet the criteria.

2. Gather Necessary Information:

Collect the required information on beneficial owners, such as names, addresses, social security numbers, or other identification details.

3. Report to FinCEN:

Ensure that all necessary information is accurately reported to FinCEN. Compliance with reporting requirements is crucial to avoid penalties.

4. Stay Informed:

Stay informed about any changes or clarifications to the CTA to ensure compliance with evolving regulations.

For questions about how the Corporate Transparency Act applies to your business or how to stay compliant, contact us to schedule a consultation with an attorney before the CTA goes into effect on 1/1/2024.