What Is the Corporate Transparency Act? 

By Myers Longhofer, LLC 
Judge gavel and calculators on financial documents

There's a piece of legislation that's making waves in the business world: The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). This act was enacted as part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The CTA is designed to combat money laundering, terrorism financing, and other illicit activities through business entities. It achieves this by requiring the collection and reporting of beneficial ownership information for covered entities, with the goal of creating a federal database of this information within the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).  

The Corporate Transparency Act regulations can be challenging to interpret and implement. That's where we come in. We can assist with understanding these regulations and putting them into action within your business operations. At Myers Longhofer, LLC, our team of skilled business law attorneys can break down the requirements into manageable tasks, reducing the burden on your company. We're here to provide clarity and precision, so you know exactly what information you need to collect and report. We proudly serve clients in Overland Park, Kansas, as well as Kansas City, Johnson County, Olathe, Leawood, and Shawnee.  

Purpose of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) 

The CTA's primary purpose is to provide law enforcement agencies with access to beneficial ownership information for detecting, preventing, and prosecuting money laundering, terrorism financing, and other illicit activities. To achieve this, the act places a burden on small businesses to collect and report this information. By doing so, it aims to increase transparency and accountability in corporate structures. 

Key Provisions of the Corporate Transparency Act 

As we delve deeper into the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), it's essential to understand its key provisions. These provisions outline the responsibilities that business entities are expected to fulfill, the exceptions within the act, and the penalties for non-compliance. Let's explore these in detail to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Act. 

Identification of Beneficial Owners 

The CTA defines beneficial owners as individuals who directly or indirectly own 25% or more of the equity interests in a legal entity or have significant control over the entity. 

Reporting entities are required to collect and report information such as the full legal name, date of birth, current address, and identifying number of these beneficial owners. 

Reporting Obligations for Covered Entities 

The CTA applies to various types of entities, including corporations, limited liability companies, and other similar entities formed or registered under state or tribal laws. 

Certain entities, such as publicly traded companies and financial institutions, are exempt from reporting requirements. The act also provides for exemptions for entities that meet specific criteria, such as having a certain number of employees or filing federal income tax returns. 

Penalties for Non-Compliance 

The CTA imposes civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance with reporting obligations. Civil penalties can range from $500 per day for negligent violations to $10,000 per day for willful violations. Criminal penalties include fines and imprisonment for up to two years. 

Implications for Businesses and Industries 

It’s important to understand the potential effects that the Corporate Transparency Act may have on businesses and industries. Understanding these effects is crucial for adequately preparing your business and ensuring compliance with the Act's requirements. Let's examine these potential consequences and consider their impact on various sectors. 

Compliance Challenges and Considerations 

The CTA presents compliance challenges for businesses, particularly small businesses that may lack the resources and knowledge to collect and report beneficial ownership information. It also raises considerations regarding the definition of employees, the determination of substantial control, and the identification of indirect beneficial owners. 

Impact on Corporate Governance 

The CTA may have implications for corporate governance, as it requires increased transparency and accountability in corporate structures. This act aims to prevent the misuse of anonymous shell companies for illicit activities and promote greater transparency in corporate ownership.

Potential Benefits and Drawbacks for Businesses 

The CTA has the potential to benefit businesses by enhancing the integrity of the financial system, deterring money laundering and terrorism financing, and promoting fair competition. However, it may also impose additional administrative burdens and costs on businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises. 

Rely on Our Experienced Guidance 

The Corporate Transparency Act represents a significant step towards combating money laundering, terrorism financing, and other illicit activities through increased transparency and accountability in corporate structures. While it presents compliance challenges and considerations for businesses, it also aims to enhance the integrity of the financial system and promote a level playing field for businesses.  

As the act is implemented and regulations are developed, businesses will need to stay informed about the reporting requirements and ensure compliance with the new obligations. We at Myers Longhofer, LLC, based in Overland Park, Kansas, are here to guide you through these changes and ensure your business complies with all the necessary regulations. Reach out to us for assistance as soon as possible.