The CTA was enacted into law as part of the National Defense Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The CTA requires the disclosure of the beneficial ownership information (otherwise known as “BOI”) of certain entities from people who own or control a company.
It is anticipated that 32.6 million businesses will be required to comply with this reporting requirement. The intent of the BOI reporting requirement is to help US law enforcement combat money laundering, the financing of terrorism and other illicit activity.
The CTA is not a part of the tax code. Instead, it is a part of the Bank Secrecy Act, a set of federal laws that require record-keeping and report filing on certain types of financial transactions. Under the CTA, BOI reports will not be filed with the IRS, but with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), another agency of the Department of Treasury.
Our firm is sending you this communication to provide you with some general information regarding the new reporting rules as well as initial steps you should take to address the implications of the CTA to your organization.
What entities are required to comply with the CTA’s BOI reporting requirement?
Entities organized both in the U.S. and outside the U.S. may be subject to the CTA’s reporting requirements. Domestic companies required to report include corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs) or any similar entity created by the filing of a document with a secretary of state or any similar office under the law of a state or Indian tribe.
Domestic entities that are not created by the filing of a document with a secretary of state or similar office are not required to report under the CTA.
Foreign companies required to report under the CTA include corporations, , LLPs, LLCs or any similar entity that is formed under the law of a foreign country and registered to do business in any state or tribal jurisdiction by filing a document with a secretary of state or any similar office.
Are there any exemptions from the filing requirements?
There are 23 categories of exemptions. Included in the exemptions list are publicly traded companies, banks and credit unions, securities brokers/dealers, public accounting firms, tax-exempt entities and certain inactive entities, among others. Please note these are not blanket exemptions and many of these entities are already heavily regulated by the government and thus already disclose their BOI to a government authority.
In addition, certain “large operating entities” are exempt from filing. To qualify for this exemption, the company must:
a) Employ more than 20 people in the U.S.;
b) Have reported gross revenue (or sales) of over $5M on the prior year’s tax return; and
c) Be physically present in the U.S.
Who is considered a “beneficial owner” of a Reporting Company?
A beneficial owner is any individual who, directly or indirectly, exercises “substantial control” or owns or controls at least 25% of the company’s ownership interests.
An individual exercises “substantial control” if the individual (i) serves as a senior officer of the company; (ii) has authority over the appointment or removal of any senior officer or a majority of the board; or (iii) directs, determines, or has substantial influence over important decisions made by the Reporting Company. Thus, senior officers and other individuals with control over the company are beneficial owners under the CTA, even if they have no equity interest in the company.
In addition, individuals may exercise control directly or indirectly, through board representation, ownership, rights associated with financing arrangements, or control over intermediary entities that separately or collectively exercise substantial control.
CTA regulations provide a much more expansive definition of “substantial control” than in the traditional tax sense, so many companies may need to seek legal guidance to ultimately determine who are deemed beneficial owners within their organization.
When must companies file?
There are different filing timeframes depending on when an entity is registered/formed or if there is a change to the beneficial owner’s information.
As currently promulgated, the CTA’s reporting requirements will be phased-in in two stages:
• All new Reporting Companies — those formed (or, in the case of non-U.S. companies, registered) on or after January 1, 2024 — must report required information within 30 days after their formation or registration.
• All existing Reporting Companies — those formed or registered before January 1, 2024 — must report required information no later than January 1, 2025.
What sort of information is required to be reported?
Companies must report the following information: full name of the reporting company, any trade name or doing business as (DBA) name, business address, state or Tribal jurisdiction of formation, and an IRS taxpayer identification number (TIN).
Additionally, information on the beneficial owners of the entity and for newly created entities, the company applicants of the entity is required. This information includes — name, birthdate, address, and unique identifying number and issuing jurisdiction from an acceptable identification document (e.g., a driver’s license or passport) and an image of such document.
Risk of non-compliance
Note that penalties for willfully violating the CTA’s reporting requirements include (1) civil penalties of up to $500 per day that a violation is not remedied, (2) a criminal fine of up to $10,000, and/or (3) imprisonment of up to two years.
As the CTA is not a part of the tax code, the assessment and application of many of the requirements set forth in the regulations, including but not limited to the determination of beneficial ownership interest, necessitate the need for legal guidance and direction. As such, since we are not attorneys, our firm is not able to provide you with any legal determination as to whether an exemption applies to the nature of your entity or whether legal relationships constitute beneficial ownership. It is possible that this may change in the future with more guidance from the state bar associations.