small business in fort worth/ dallas texas who needs a lawyer to explain to them the corporate transparency act
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By Carey Thompson
Founding Attorney

The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) marks a significant shift in how small businesses manage their reporting and transparency obligations. Navigating this new terrain can be challenging, yet it’s essential for maintaining compliance and avoiding legal pitfalls. This guide aims to demystify the CTA, breaking down its key aspects and what they mean for your business. We’ll explore how to adapt and thrive under these new regulations.

What Is the Corporate Transparency Act?

The Corporate Transparency Act is a groundbreaking piece of legislation in the United States, aimed at combating illegal activities like money laundering, fraud, and terrorism financing. Enacted as part of the National Defense Authorization Act in 2021, it requires corporations, LLCs, and similar entities to disclose their beneficial owners to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). This disclosure requirement, which goes into effect on January 1, 2024, is critical in preventing anonymous shell companies from concealing illicit activities. Under the CTA, businesses must provide FinCEN with detailed information about the individuals who own or control them. This move towards greater transparency is a significant step in bolstering national security and financial integrity, affecting numerous small businesses across various sectors.

Key Requirements of the Act for Small Businesses

The Corporate Transparency Act imposes specific reporting requirements on a wide range of business entities, primarily targeting smaller corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) that lack a physical presence in the United States. Under this Act, these businesses are mandated to disclose identifying information about their beneficial owners. This includes full legal names, dates of birth, addresses, and unique identifying numbers from an acceptable document, like a passport or driver’s license. The aim is to create a more transparent business environment by eliminating the anonymity behind shell companies and various corporate structures often used to hide illicit activities.

Importantly, the Act sets out clear guidelines on the frequency and circumstances under which this information must be updated. Initial reporting is required at the time of formation or registration of the entity. Subsequent updates are necessary if there is a change in beneficial ownership or if any of the provided information changes. Compliance with these requirements is crucial for small businesses to avoid legal complications and ensure they operate within the legal framework set by the CTA.

How to Ensure Your Business Complies

Ensuring compliance with the Corporate Transparency Act involves a proactive approach. First, identify whether your business falls under the Act’s requirements. Most small corporations and LLCs with a U.S. nexus are subject to these rules. Next, gather accurate and up-to-date information about all beneficial owners. This includes their legal names, addresses, dates of birth, and identification numbers. Regularly review and update this information, especially when changes occur in ownership or control structures. 

It’s also important to understand the submission process to FinCEN. Timely and accurate submission of this information is key. If in doubt, seeking legal advice or consulting with a compliance expert can provide clarity and ensure that your business remains on the right side of the law.

Potential Penalties for Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with the CTA can lead to severe penalties. Businesses failing to accurately report beneficial ownership information face significant fines and potential criminal charges. Willful non-compliance or providing false or fraudulent information can result in criminal penalties, including fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to two years. These stringent penalties underscore the critical need for businesses to stay informed and compliant with the Act’s requirements.

The Law Office of Carey Thompson Can Help 

At the Law Office of Carey Thompson, we help guide small businesses through the complexities of the Corporate Transparency Act. Our experienced team offers personalized advice and solutions to ensure your business remains compliant and secure. Reach out to us for a consultation, and let us help you navigate these legal waters with confidence.

About the Author
Carey Thompson has been practicing Social Security Disability Law Since 2008 after he graduated from Texas Wesleyan School of Law, now known as Texas A&M school of Law in Fort Worth, TX.  While at Texas Wesleyan he served on Law Review.  Prior to going to Law School, Mr. Thompson was a High School Band Director for four years using his degree in Music Education from Michigan State University.  Prior to Attending Michigan State, he attended Aledo Schools from Kindergarten to graduate.  Mr.Thompson feels strongly about serving the people of Tarrant County.