Navigating the New Corporate Transparency Act: Insights for Small Business Owners

As part of our ongoing commitment to empower small businesses with informed decisions, Crawford Business Consulting presents an overview of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) and its implications, particularly concerning trusts as business entity owners. This summary is designed to guide your understanding and prepare you for a more detailed discussion with our professionals. SEE UPDATE AT

Understanding the Corporate Transparency Act

The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) Overview

The realm of business entities is witnessing a significant legislative shift with the introduction of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). The CTA, effective from January 1, 2024, introduces new reporting requirements for various business entities like LLCs, corporations, and similar structures. Its primary aim is to prevent fraudulent activities and misuse of shell companies by enhancing transparency.

Background of the Legislation:

The CTA, part of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 within the National Defense Authorization Act, was enacted to combat illicit activities like money laundering and terrorism financing through anonymous shell companies. It represents over a decade of legislative efforts to enhance transparency in business ownership.

What Does the CTA Entail?

The CTA mandates reporting companies to disclose specific information about the company, its beneficial owners, and company applicants to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). This includes details like names, addresses, and identification information. The aim is to prevent fraud and criminal activities through enhanced transparency.

Who Must Report?

Reporting companies are generally corporations, LLCs, or similar entities created by filing a document with the Secretary of State. Notably, most trusts are not considered reporting companies since they are not typically formed in this manner. However, if a trust owns a significant portion (25% or more) or exerts substantial control over a reporting company, it may be considered a beneficial owner.

Comparing Trusts to LLCs, S-Corps, and C-Corps:

  • Trusts can offer privacy and estate planning advantages but might face complications under the CTA, especially if they hold interests in reporting companies.
  • LLCs are popular for their flexibility and limited liability but will now face more stringent reporting requirements.
  • S-Corps and C-Corps offer liability protection and structure but come with their reporting obligations and tax implications.

Key Reporting Requirements

  • Entities Covered: The CTA applies to reporting companies, which include corporations, LLCs, and similar entities formed by filing documents with the Secretary of State.
  • Exemptions: Certain regulated entities (banks, insurance companies, accounting firms), charitable organizations, and large operating companies are exempt.
  • Reporting Details: The required information includes particulars about the company, its beneficial owners, and company applicants.

Implications for Trusts

  • Trusts as Reporting Entities: Most trusts are not considered reporting companies as they aren’t formed via the Secretary of State.
  • Beneficial Ownership: A trust can be a beneficial owner if it owns or controls 25% or more of a reporting company or exercises substantial control over it. However, the beneficial owner must be an individual, which necessitates examining the trust terms to identify this individual.

Examples and Exceptions

  • Trustees as Beneficial Owners: Trustees may be considered beneficial owners if they have the authority to manage trust assets or control company shares held by the trust.
  • Beneficiaries and Settlors: They might be beneficial owners depending on their rights within the trust, such as the sole recipient of trust income or having the right to revoke the trust.
  • Exceptions: Minor children, future beneficiaries through inheritance rights, agents, and creditors are generally not considered beneficial owners.

Deadlines and Penalties

  • Reporting Timeline: Entities formed before January 1, 2024, have until January 1, 2025, to file their initial reports. Entities formed after this date must report within 30 days of formation.
  • Consequences of Non-Compliance: Failure to report or providing inaccurate information can result in fines and criminal penalties.

Action Steps for Business Owners

If your business or related entity is held by a trust, or if you’re involved in any business entity, it’s essential to understand your obligations under the CTA. This could affect your reporting responsibilities and the way you manage your business structure. 

The CTA marks a pivotal change in the business landscape, especially for small businesses and trusts involved in corporate structures. Understanding these changes is crucial for compliance and strategic planning. You can review the BOI Small Compliance Guide provided by

Speak with Our Experts

At Crawford Business Consulting, we’re equipped to help you navigate these complexities and ensure your business structure and reporting align with legal requirements. Contact us today to ensure your business documents and intellectual property are in order and stay ahead of regulatory changes impacting your business.


This blog aims to provide a comprehensive yet easy-to-understand summary of the CTA, encouraging readers to seek further guidance from Crawford Business Consulting professionals. SEE UPDATE AT

This summary is informational and does not constitute legal advice. Laws and regulations are subject to change, and this information may not reflect the most recent updates. Always consult with a professional for specific advice tailored to your situation.