Entrepreneurs: The Lowdown on FinCEN BOI Reporting

Hey Small Business Owners! Starting January 1, 2024, there’s a big change coming our way that affects millions of us entrepreneurs across the U.S. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), part of the Treasury Department (NOT the IRS), is rolling out a new rule. They’re asking businesses to file a Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) report. And let me tell you, not following this isn’t something you want to brush off – it could lead to some serious fines and even jail time.

Getting a Grip on BOI Reporting

If you’re scratching your head about ‘BOI reporting’, or you’ve heard of it but aren’t quite sure what it’s all about, it’s time to get clued in. This whole thing is based on the Corporate Transparency Act and FinCEN’s rules. Basically, it’s about making things more transparent and fighting financial crimes by having businesses spill the beans on who really owns and controls them.

Do You Need to File This Thing?

Mainly, if you’re running a corporation (yep, both S corps and C corps) or an LLC, you’re probably going to need to file a BOI report unless you luck out with an exemption. The rule talks about these types of businesses, but others might need to file too. It all boils down to whether you had to file some paperwork to get your business off the ground. And for those flying solo or in general partnerships, FinCEN thinks you might not need to worry about this, as you usually don’t have to file those formation documents.

FinCEN launched the BOI E-Filing website for reporting beneficial ownership information (https://boiefiling.fincen.gov) on January 1, 2024.
  • A reporting company created or registered to do business before January 1, 2024, will have until January 1, 2025, to file its initial BOI report.
  • A reporting company created or registered in 2024 will have 90 calendar days to file after receiving actual or public notice that its creation or registration is effective.
  • A reporting company created or registered on or after January 1, 2025, will have 30 calendar days to file after receiving actual or public notice that its creation or registration is effective.

Figuring Out the Fine Print

I get it, figuring out if your business needs to do this BOI report thing can be a headache, especially if you’re juggling multiple businesses or you’re a solopreneur. But it’s super important to understand if you’re in the clear or if you need to get on this. It’s not just about filling out forms; it’s about keeping your business on the up-and-up. And personally, it peeves me that once again, burdens are placed on small businesses in the name of “transparency and security” – and there are numerous exemptions for the *cough cough* usually corrupt large corporations.

This new requirement is a pretty big shift for us small business folks. Staying in the know and compliant is key to dodging those nasty penalties. And hey, when in doubt, it’s always a smart move to chat with your business attorney or CPA for advice that’s right for your situation.

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