Corporate Transparency

On March 1, 2024, Judge Liles C. Burke of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama ruled that the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”) is unconstitutional[1], leaving its future uncertain. The CTA requires reporting companies to report to FinCEN information about their beneficial owners and company applicants and is intended to help prevent and combat money laundering, terrorist financing, tax fraud and other illicit activity.  The ruling enjoined U.S. Department of the Treasury, FinCEN and any other federal agency from enforcing the CTA against the plaintiffs but introduces uncertainty as to the applicability to other reporting companies. 

On January 12, 2024, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) released additional FAQs[1] in response to questions received regarding compliance with various aspects of the Corporate Transparency Act’s Beneficial Ownership Reporting Rule (the “BOI Rule”), which came into effect on January 1, 2024.[2]  One such question

In 2021, the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”) was enacted into U.S. federal law as part of a multi‑national effort to rein in the use of entities to mask illegal activity. The CTA directs the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) to propose rules requiring certain types of entities to file

Today, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a final rule aimed to ease compliance with certain aspects of the regulations promulgated under the Corporate Transparency Act.  The final rule extends the deadline from 30 days to 90 days for entities created or registered during 2024 that do not qualify for an

Background

On 26 October 2023, the United Kingdom (“UK”) Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (the “Act”) received Royal Assent.

The Act aims to reform Companies House and increase the transparency of UK corporate structures, following concerns that the UK’s previous regime was facilitating criminal behaviour, through convoluted corporate structures that masked economic crimes such as money laundering and fraud.

As the effective date of the US federal Corporate Transparency Act approaches, FinCEN continues to develop its rules almost on a daily basis. Within the past few days, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) published notice of proposals aimed to clarify and ease compliance with certain aspects of the regulations promulgated under the Corporate Transparency Act. The Corporate Transparency Act requires certain entities (“reporting companies”) to report to FinCEN information about their beneficial owners and company applicants, and is intended to help prevent and combat money laundering, terrorist financing, tax fraud and other illicit activity.[1] The Beneficial Ownership Reporting Rule (the “BOI Rule”), promulgated by FinCEN in September of 2022, establishes who are reporting companies and their beneficial owners and company applicants, as well as what information is required to be reported about these entities and individuals.

In 2021, the U.S. enacted the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”) as part of a multi‑national effort to rein in the use of entities to mask illegal activity.  The CTA directs the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) to propose rules requiring certain types of entities to file a report identifying the entities’ beneficial owners and the persons who formed the entity.  FinCEN issued the final rule on Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Requirements (the “Reporting Rule”) on September 29, 2022. FinCEN recently published a Small Entity Compliance Guide intended to assist entities in determining whether they are required to file a report and what information will need to be reported.  The Reporting Rule will become effective on January 1, 2024.

1. Introduction

In February 2022, the UK Government published the Corporate Transparency and Register Reform White Paper (the “White Paper”), which set out its plans to reform Companies House and increase the transparency of UK corporate structures.

The White Paper followed concerns that the UK’s current regime was facilitating criminal behaviour, through convoluted corporate structures that masked economic crimes such as money laundering and fraud. These reforms follow the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 which had a similar rationale and, for example, introduced a register of overseas entities and their beneficial owners. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, such issues have been pushed even further into the public eye.

On January 1, 2021, Congress enacted the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”) as part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.  Congress passed the CTA to “better enable critical national security, intelligence, and law enforcement efforts to counter money laundering, the financing of terrorism, and other illicit activity.” The CTA requires a range of entities, primarily smaller, otherwise unregulated companies, to file a report with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) identifying the entities’ beneficial owners—the persons who ultimately own or control the company—and provide similar identifying information about the persons who formed the entity. The CTA also authorizes FinCEN to disclose this information to authorized government authorities and to financial institutions in certain circumstances.

Summary of the Corporate Transparency Act under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021

On January 1, 2021, the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”), which is part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, became effective after both houses of Congress overrode a presidential veto. The CTA amends the Bank Secrecy Act (the “BSA”) and, once the Treasury Department’s reporting procedures and standards are established, it will require many companies, which have historically been unregulated, to file a report with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) identifying the companies’ beneficial owners. In an attempt to ban anonymous shell companies and “better enable critical national security, intelligence, and law enforcement efforts to counter money laundering, the financing of terrorism, and other illicit activity,” government authorities will, for the first time, have access to a database of such beneficial ownership information.