The Corporate Transparency Act and Its Impact on Small Businesses

February 28, 2024 - 6 minutes read
Corporate Transparency Act

Understanding the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) is essential for small business owners, compliance officers, and legal advisors. This legislation has several implications that require due diligence and adherence to new requirements. Below is a breakdown of the act’s history, its demands upon businesses, and the critical points of compliance.

A Brief History of the Corporate Transparency Act

The CTA came into effect as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021. It was enacted to prevent and combat the use of shell companies for illicit activities by improving transparency. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) estimates 32.6 million businesses will need to comply with the Corporate Transparency Act in the act’s first year.

Requirements of the Corporate Transparency Act

The CTA requires certain corporations, limited liability companies, and similar entities to report information about their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the Department of Treasury. BOI Information Brochure (

Information Required for a Valid Registration

To comply with the Corporate Transparency Act, qualifying businesses must submit information that includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Name: The full legal name of the beneficial owner.
  • Birthdate: The beneficial owner’s date of birth.
  • Address: A current residential or business street address.
  • Identification Number: This may refer to a valid passport number, driver’s license number, or another government-issued identification number that confirms the identity of the beneficial owner.
  • Company Details: Information about the company requiring registration, including the company name, address, and the purpose for which the company was established.

These requirements are designed to provide a clear picture of the individuals who ultimately own or control a business entity, thereby enhancing transparency and aiding in the prevention of illicit activities.

Compliance Timeline for Existing Companies vs. Newly Created Companies

For companies that existed prior to the regulation’s full implementation, the Corporate Transparency Act mandates a transitional reporting period to ensure compliance. Existing entities are required to submit their beneficial ownership information to FinCEN before January 1, 2025.

On the other hand, companies created in 2024 or afterward are subject to more immediate compliance expectations. These newly formed businesses must report their beneficial ownership information to FinCEN at the time of their creation (within 90 days if formed in 2024 and within 30 days thereafter) or registration. This immediate reporting requirement underscores the Act’s aim to instill transparency and accountability from the outset of a company’s operations.

Defining a “Reporting Company”

To determine if your business is considered a reporting company, you need to understand if it falls within the scope of the entities described in the CTA. Small businesses structured as corporations or LLCs with few employees and limited sales are generally subject to the CTA’s requirements.

Identifying the “Beneficial Owner” and “Company Applicant”

The CTA defines a “beneficial owner” as an individual who, directly or indirectly, exercises substantial control over an entity or owns at least 25% of the equity interests. A “company applicant” is the person who files the application to form the company or registers it to do business in the US.

Details required in the report include each beneficial owner’s name, date of birth, address, and a unique identifying number from an acceptable document such as a passport or driver’s license.

Timing of Compliance

Entities that fall under the jurisdiction of the CTA must submit beneficial ownership information at the time of company formation or registration. Existing entities have a transition period to file their initial reports but need to stay abreast of the specific deadlines.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Failing to comply with the Corporate Transparency Act can result in fines and penalties. Entities may be charged with financial penalties of up to $500 per day until the violation is corrected, and responsible individuals could face criminal fines of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to two years.


The passage of the Corporate Transparency Act marks a significant shift for small business owners who must now undertake the task of reporting beneficial ownership information. The burden is on each business to understand the requirements and comply timely to avoid substantial penalties.

To ensure compliance, small businesses must adjust their internal processes to collect the necessary information and possibly seek advice from legal experts. This proactive approach to understanding and implementing the necessary changes as required by the CTA will safeguard small businesses from potential legal and financial fallout.

If you’re a small business owner, compliance officer, or legal advisor, engaging with the nuances of this legislation is a matter of legal and financial prudence. Consider consulting with a legal expert to ensure that your business is fully aware of the obligations under the CTA and develops a robust framework to meet these new regulatory demands.

If you’re an existing client and would like to speak to our team about Corporate Transparency Act, we would be glad to assist! Book a call today:

Schedule A Call