Corporate Transparency Act webinar set

A person types on a laptop keyboard in this June 19, 2017, file photo. (AP/Elise Amendola)
A person types on a laptop keyboard in this June 19, 2017, file photo. (AP/Elise Amendola)

Many farms and small businesses that must comply with the Corporate Transparency Act seem to be unaware of its existence and its requirements, according to attorneys for the National Agricultural Law Center.

The Corporate Transparency Act was passed in 2021 with a goal of cracking down on shell companies and preventing money laundering, said Elizabeth Rumley, senior staff attorney at the National Agricultural Law Center. Reporting required by the law began Jan. 1, 2024, and is expected to affect more than 32 million businesses.

The NALC will host a webinar on March 20 at 11 a.m., called "Small Entities Must File: Navigating the Corporate Transparency Act's New Reporting Requirements," presented by Kristine Tidgren, an adjunct assistant professor in the Agricultural Education & Studies Department at Iowa State University and the director for the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation. Tidgren's work focuses on studying and interpreting laws impacting the agricultural industry. In particular, she focuses on agricultural taxation.

Center staff like Elizabeth Rumley and fellow senior staff attorney Rusty Rumley are trying to raise awareness of the law and the implications for non-compliance.

"Within the past couple of weeks, Rusty was at a conference speaking to a group of about 100 farmers in Louisiana, and I did the same to about 75 farmers in Minnesota," Elizabeth Rumley said. "Not a single person in either group had heard of the Corporate Transparency Act."

The Corporate Transparency Act covers a wide range of domestic and foreign business entities created or registered in the United States, including LLCs, limited partnerships, corporations and some trusts. There is no exception for small businesses, and no exception for agriculture.

"Because of this act, many business entities will be required to file a report with the federal government disclosing information on individuals with a 'beneficial ownership interest' in the entity," Elizabeth Rumley said. "Entities created before this year have until Jan. 1, 2025, to come into compliance with the new reporting requirements. Entities created or registered in 2024 have 90 days to complete the reporting process," she said.

Under the law, a "beneficial owner" includes individuals who own or control at least 25 percent of the company's ownership interests. It also includes individuals who directly or indirectly exercise substantial control over the company's operations, such as senior officers, general counsel or members of the board of directors.

Penalties for failure to report range from $500 to $10,000 for each day of non-compliance and can include not only civil but also -- potentially-- criminal charges.

The online portal for submitting CTA disclosures is live and can be found at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network site.

To learn more about the CTA and its reporting requirements, read "Small Entities Must File New Beneficial Ownership Information Reports in 2024" from NALC partner Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State University.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact a local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.

Mary Hightower is with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

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