Recent FinCEN Regulation Mandates Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership Details
Recently, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has unveiled a new definitive regulation compelling specific enterprises to disclose beneficial ownership details to governmental authorities. The principal goal of this regulation is to fortify the capabilities of law enforcement and other pertinent bodies in their pursuit of criminals who exploit shell corporations to facilitate money laundering endeavors and obscure their assets.
Scope of the Regulation
This regulation extends to all entities termed “reporting companies.” This inclusive category encompasses corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and other analogous entities that come into existence via the formal submission of documentation to a state secretary or equivalent office. Moreover, the purview also encompasses foreign reporting companies that have registered themselves for conducting business activities within the confines of the United States.
Details Mandated for Disclosure
Each reporting company is duty-bound to furnish FinCEN with comprehensive details regarding each beneficial owner, encompassing the following information:
• Date of birth
• A distinctive identifying number, alongside the relevant jurisdiction of issuance of an acceptable identification document
Furthermore, it is imperative for reporting companies to supply the name and address of the company applicant. This individual is defined as the party directly responsible for submitting the document that facilitated the entity’s formation. In instances involving foreign reporting companies, the mandate extends to the document that originally registered the entity for commencing operations within the United States.
This newly established regulation is set to take effect on January 1, 2024. Reporting companies that came into existence or were registered prior to this date are provided a one-year grace period, culminating on January 1, 2025, to submit their inaugural reports. Conversely, reporting companies established or registered post-January 1, 2024, must fulfill this requirement within 30 days subsequent to receiving formal notification of their creation or registration.
The consequences for failure to adhere to the stipulations of this regulation are as follows:
Civil Penalty: Those individuals or entities found to be in contravention of the registration prerequisites can potentially face a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each individual violation. The ambit of non-compliance encompasses the submission of erroneous or substantively incomplete information. It is noteworthy that each day on which a violation persists constitutes a discrete infringement. Moreover, the Secretary of the Treasury reserves the prerogative to institute a civil action designed to prohibit the continuance of such violations.
Criminal Penalty: Engaging in business activities without fulfilling the registration requisites is unequivocally unlawful. Perpetrators may face the imposition of a criminal fine and, in more severe instances, imprisonment for a period of up to 5 years.
The Merits of the Regulation
This novel FinCEN regulation marks a significant stride forward in the ongoing campaign against money laundering and financial malfeasance. By compelling businesses to divulge beneficial ownership details, the regulation effectively erects substantial barriers that deter criminals from concealing their illicit undertakings. This, in turn, empowers law enforcement agencies to more effectively identify, apprehend, and prosecute criminals, while simultaneously fortifying the integrity of the financial ecosystem.
Although the recent FinCEN regulation is undeniably commendable, it is not devoid of its inherent challenges. A subset of businesses has voiced apprehensions regarding the potential financial burden and intricate nature of conforming to the regulation’s tenets. Furthermore, concerns have arisen about the possible compromise of individual privacy rights due to this regulatory framework. Nevertheless, FinCEN has expressed its unwavering commitment to collaborate with businesses, aiming to facilitate their adherence to the prescribed guidelines.
The innovative FinCEN regulation stands as a constructive stride in the ongoing battle against money laundering and financial impropriety. This imperative directive makes it more challenging for criminals to hide their illegal activities and aids in maintaining the integrity of the financial system.
Please contact our Global Business Services team if you have any questions regarding the new FinCEN regulation or any other international tax matter.
John Bodur, MBA is a Senior Tax Consultant in the firm’s Global Business Services practice and is responsible for assisting clients and adding depth in all areas of the firm’s international tax consulting services including transfer pricing, and the firm’s compliance expertise.