The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) estimated it will cost reporting companies a total of $22.7 billion to comply with the requirements of the agency’s beneficial ownership registry in its first year.
In a notice for request and comment posted in the Federal Register on Tuesday, FinCEN projected more than 32 million reporting companies will be required to file initial beneficial ownership reports in Year 1 of the registry (2024). The estimated total costs for those companies include $21.7 billion for initial reports and $1 billion for updated reports. Updated reports are required when there is a material change in ownership of the reporting entity.
The total number of entities filing reports to the registry in Year 2 will drop to a little less than 5 million, FinCEN said. Total costs to companies to file initial reports in Year 2 will range from $425.6 million to $13.1 billion; for filing updated beneficial ownership reports, $547 million to $8.1 billion.
Entities will need as little as 90 minutes or as much as almost 11 hours to complete and submit paperwork to the beneficial ownership registry in the first year. The difference in time will depend on whether the entity has a simple or complex operating structure, FinCEN said.
FinCEN finalized its beneficial ownership registry rule in September; the final rule is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2024. The rule will require reporting companies (both foreign and domestic) that file incorporation paperwork with secretaries of state or tribal authorities to also file beneficial ownership information with FinCEN. The registry is designed to assist FinCEN and law enforcement in understanding who owns corporations and shell companies to help locate and capture parties responsible for money laundering, financing terrorist groups, and other financial crime.
A total of 23 types of entities would be exempt from the definition of “reporting company” under the rule. Many of the exemptions—for public companies, banks, insurers, brokers, investment advisers, accounting firms, public utilities, and more—are already “subject to substantial federal and/or state regulation or already have to provide their beneficial ownership information to a governmental authority,” FinCEN has previously said.
FinCEN in December proposed restricting access to the registry to certain federal agencies; state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies that have received a court’s authorization; financial institutions with customer due diligence requirements; bank regulators supervising the due diligence activities of financial institutions; foreign law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges, and other agencies that meet specific criteria; and Treasury officers and employees. The registry will not be accessible to the public.