FinCEN has prepared the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in response to inquiries received relating to the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Rule.

These FAQs are explanatory only and do not supplement or modify any obligations imposed by statute or regulation. Please refer to the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Rule, available at www.fincen.gov/boi, for details on specific provisions. FinCEN expects to publish additional guidance in the future.

 

https://www.fincen.gov/boi/beneficial-ownership-information-frequently-asked-questions.

 

A. General Questions

A. 1. What is beneficial ownership information?

Beneficial ownership information refers to identifying information about the individuals who directly or indirectly own or control a company.

[Issued March 24, 2023]

Back to top

A. 2. Why do companies have to report beneficial ownership information to the U.S. Department of the Treasury?

In 2021, Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act on a bipartisan basis. This law creates a new beneficial ownership information reporting requirement as part of the U.S. government’s efforts to make it harder for bad actors to hide or benefit from their ill-gotten gains through shell companies or other opaque ownership structures.

[Issued September 18, 2023]

Back to top

A. 3. Under the Corporate Transparency Act, who can access beneficial ownership information?

FinCEN will permit Federal, State, local, and Tribal officials, as well as certain foreign officials who submit a request through a U.S. Federal government agency, to obtain beneficial ownership information for authorized activities related to national security, intelligence, and law enforcement. Financial institutions will have access to beneficial ownership information in certain circumstances, with the consent of the reporting company. Those financial institutions’ regulators will also have access to beneficial ownership information when they supervise the financial institutions.

FinCEN published the rule that will govern access to and protection of beneficial ownership information on December 22, 2023. Beneficial ownership information reported to FinCEN will be stored in a secure, non-public database using rigorous information security methods and controls typically used in the Federal government to protect non-classified yet sensitive information systems at the highest security level. FinCEN will work closely with those authorized to access beneficial ownership information to ensure that they understand their roles and responsibilities in using the reported information only for authorized purposes and handling in a way that protects its security and confidentiality.

[Updated January 4, 2024]

Back to top

A. 4. How will companies become aware of the BOI reporting requirements?

FinCEN is engaged in a robust outreach and education campaign to raise awareness of and help reporting companies understand the new reporting requirements. That campaign involves virtual and in-person outreach events and comprehensive guidance in a variety of formats and languages, including multimedia content and the Small Entity Compliance Guide, as well as new channels of communication, including social media platforms. FinCEN is also engaging with governmental offices at the federal and state levels, small business and trade associations, and interest groups.

FinCEN will continue to provide guidance, information, and updates related to the BOI reporting requirements on its BOI webpage, www.fincen.gov/boi. Subscribe here to receive updates via email from FinCEN about BOI reporting obligations.