FinCEN Outlines Rules for Greater Transparency in Disclosing Corporate Ownership

This week, FinCEN is giving the public an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed rule to implement the Corporate Transparency Act’s reporting provisions regarding corporate ownership disclosure.

bredehoft headshot 280x210Millions of corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities are formed within the United States each year. While such entities play an essential and legitimate role in the U.S. and global economies, they can also be used to facilitate illicit activity, such as corruption, and enable those who threaten U.S. national security to access and transact in the U.S. economy. Few jurisdictions in the United States require legal entities to disclose information about their beneficial owners—that is, the people who actually own or control a company—or the persons forming them. This creates opportunities for corrupt actors, criminals, and terrorists to remain anonymous while facilitating illicit activity through legal entities in the United States.

Corruption, in particular, allows bad actors to abuse their authority and extract unfair gains at the expense of others. Treasury’s strategy to combat corruption will make our economy—and the global economy—stronger, fairer, and safer from criminals and national security threats. As part of a whole-of-government commitment to democracy, Treasury is taking a number of actions to fight corruption and prevent it from undermining trust in democratic institutions. Among these actions is the implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), which was enacted as part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 within the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.

Today, FinCEN issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to give the public an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed rule to implement the CTA’s beneficial ownership information (BOI) reporting provisions. The proposed rule would significantly enhance the ability to protect the U.S. financial system from illicit use, and provide essential information to law enforcement and others help prevent corrupt actors, terrorists, and proliferators from hiding money or other property in the United States.

In developing the proposed regulation, FinCEN has also aimed to minimize burdens on reporting companies, including small businesses. It is anticipated to cost reporting companies less than $50 apiece to prepare and submit an initial BOI report. In comparison, the state formation fee for creating a limited liability company (LLC) can cost between $40 and $500, depending on the state.

Requiring entities to submit beneficial ownership information to FinCEN and providing timely access to this information to law enforcement, financial institutions, and other authorized users is intended to help combat corruption, money laundering, terrorist financing, tax fraud, and other illicit activity.

The ultimate goal of this regulatory proposal is to combat, to the broadest extent possible, the proliferation of anonymous shell companies that facilitate the flow and sheltering of illicit money in the United States.

Read the entire Fact Sheet on FinCEN's website.