In this week’s episode of Unstoppable Real Estate Agents, Kim is joined by Lucy Hebron, a highly regarded figure in the legal landscape. Lucy brings over 30 years of expertise as a licensed attorney, business owner, and the manager of Hebron Law Firm PLLC. Her multifaceted career includes serving as a former county judge, delivering insightful lectures on bankruptcy, legal matters, court administration, and ethical practices. Lucy’s commitment to education extends to her role as a professor in the paralegal studies department at a local community college. Additionally, she’s an accomplished author, having penned “Debt Free & Stress Free: Your Journey to Financial Freedom,” all while gracefully balancing the role of a devoted mother.
In this episode, Lucy sheds light on the impending impact of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), set to take effect on January 1st, 2024. “This is the single biggest piece of legislation that’s going to affect small businesses in about 10 years,” she remarks, emphasizing its far-reaching implications for entities like LLCs and corporations, both established and potential.
The CTA is Congress’s response to combatting money laundering and identifying illicit businesses hiding behind corporate veils. Lucy analogizes it to the post-9/11 airport security changes, aiming to differentiate legitimate businesses from potential wrongdoers. The Act mandates that LLCs and corporations prove their legitimacy, necessitating disclosure of detailed background information.
Lucy explains that the Act encompasses various entities—LLCs, single-member LLCs, Professional LLCs, and corporations—regardless of their status or inactivity. Even dormant entities are subject to the reporting requirements, making compliance inevitable for most small businesses.
The primary objective of the CTA is to establish a comprehensive federal database, enabling government agencies and financial institutions to identify beneficial owners of entities, those holding a 25% or greater stake. Failure to comply with reporting requirements can lead to severe penalties, prompting Lucy’s advice to proactively address this mandate.
When discussing dormant entities, Lucy advises clients to formally dissolve these businesses with the state and notify the IRS of their closure to avoid unnecessary scrutiny or compliance burdens. She stresses the importance of taking proactive steps to avoid being flagged by the IRS, especially for those with multiple dormant entities in their portfolio.
Lucy emphasizes the need for entrepreneurs and small business owners to verify the status of their entities with their respective Secretary of State’s offices and take necessary steps to dissolve inactive entities. This proactive approach ensures compliance with the CTA and prevents potential penalties.
The impending implementation of the CTA underscores the importance of legal compliance and proactive business management for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Lucy’s insights serve as a crucial guide for navigating the complexities of this new regulatory landscape.
This legislation necessitates reporting to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), compelling entities to electronically file the Beneficial Information Report (BIR). The report demands comprehensive details, including personal information of substantial owners, birthdates, Social Security numbers, and more, intending to create a vast federal database.
Crucially, Lucy clarifies that the Act primarily affects LLCs and corporations formed through state filing processes. Solely filing a Doing Business As (DBA) with the county clerk doesn’t subject businesses to CTA compliance.
Regarding compliance deadlines, active existing entities by 2024 have until December 31st, 2024, for filing. New entities formed post-January 1st, 2024, must file within 90 days. Failure to comply results in hefty penalties — up to $500 per day and potential jail time.
Lucy highlights the need for careful consideration, especially for those planning to dissolve their entities. Timely dissolution, coupled with notifying relevant authorities, prevents unnecessary scrutiny and ensures compliance.
She recommends seeking guidance from legal or financial experts, emphasizing the importance of filing accurate and timely reports. Additionally, Lucy emphasizes the need for continuous compliance, requiring updates for any changes in ownership or substantial control.
While the CTA poses significant challenges for small businesses, staying informed and proactive is crucial. Lucy’s insights serve as a compass, guiding entrepreneurs through the complex legal landscape ahead. She underlines the need for vigilance, advising businesses to take proactive measures, follow legal counsel, and stay updated with state and federal regulations. Understanding and adhering to the Corporate Transparency Act will safeguard businesses from penalties and ensure continued lawful operation.