SMALL BUSINESS ALERT: January 1, 2024 - Beneficial Ownership Information ReportingClient Alert
Beginning on January 1, 2024, many small businesses across the United States will have to report personal information about their owners, beneficial owners, and others who own or exercise control over the company. The information will have to be reported to, and maintained by, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) as part of the Beneficial Ownership Information Rule. FinCEN is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The Rule was adopted as part of the Corporate Transparency Act passed by Congress in 2021. The required reporting is designed to make it more difficult for bad actors to shelter or hide finances through shell companies or complicated ownership structures. All domestic and foreign corporations, LLC’s, or other entities created by the filing of a document with the Secretary of State or similar office in the United States must file, unless it qualifies for one of the several enumerated exemptions identified in the Rule. A business required to file (a “reporting company”) will need to include certain specified personal information concerning:
- The business itself.
- Any owners holding 25% or more of the stock, voting rights, or ownership interests in the company.
- Any other individuals (such as senior officers or other important decision makers), whether or not they are owners, who exercise substantial control over the company’s finances, structure, or business operations.
- Individuals who filed, or directed the filing, of the organizing documents that created or registered the company (for entities formed after 1/1/2024).
The personal information for any individual required to be disclosed includes the individuals full name and address, date of birth, and other identifying information such as a passport number, driver’s license number, etc.
Because the intent of the legislation is to gain information from small businesses, those businesses existing on January 1, 2024 will have one (1) year to comply. Any businesses formed after January 1, 2024 will need to disclose and file the beneficial owner information within thirty (30) days of the entities formation. In addition, any changes in the information disclosed must be updated within thirty (30) days.
A failure to report complete or updated information to FinCEN, or an attempt to provide false or fraudulent information, may result in civil penalties of up to $500 for each day that the violation continues, or criminal penalties including imprisonment for up to two (2) years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Senior officers of an entity that fails to file a required report may be held accountable for that failure.
Business owners should act now to identify whether their company must report and if so, which individuals within the business entity are required to disclose the personal information designated under the Rule. For more information about The Rule or how to comply, please contact BMD Member Blake Gerney at firstname.lastname@example.org.