Questions Abound For FinCEN Beneficial Ownership Database

A key part of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s activity under the Corporate Transparency Act is a sprawling database. How to build it – and who should have access?

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to implement provisions of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) that govern the access to beneficial ownership information (BOI). The regs kick in Jan. 1 next year.

A rule issued last fall requires most corporations, LLCs and similar entities created in or registered to do business in the U.S. to report information about their beneficial owners to FinCEN. (“Beneficial owner” is generally an individual with at least 25% of the ownership interests of an entity.)

The idea was greater exposure of “criminals, corrupt actors and anyone trying to hide ill-gotten gains in the United States,” with a non-public database for use by law enforcement, financial institutions and other authorities both American (local and federal) and foreign. (Written comments on the notice and proposal will be accepted through Feb. 14.)

When filing BOI reports, the rule requires a reporting company to identify itself and report four pieces of information about each of its beneficial owners: name, birthdate, address and “a unique identifying number and issuing jurisdiction from an acceptable identification document.” Companies created or registered before Jan. 1, 2024, have until Jan. 1, 2025, to file their initial reports; companies created or registered after Jan. 1, 2024, will have 30 days to file after being informed they have to do so.