New Transparency Act Is Now Live – Small Businesses Be Aware

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Recently Kevin Price, Host of the nationally syndicated Price of Business Show, interviewed Daniel A. Cotter, Attorney, and Counselor.

The Daniel Cotter Commentaries

Price and Cotter take a look at a controversial new law on businesses.

The Corporate Transparency Act’s (CTA) core objective is simple: shine a light on who truly controls businesses formed in the US. It mandates that companies report the identities of their “beneficial owners” – individuals with 25% or more ownership or control, even if hidden through complex corporate structures. This information is then stored by FinCEN, a Treasury Department agency, and accessible to law enforcement and authorized investigators.

Proponents of the CTA argue it’s a vital weapon against:

  • Money laundering: Criminals use shell companies to disguise illicit funds as legitimate business transactions.
  • Tax evasion: Hiding true ownership allows businesses to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
  • Fraud and other crimes: Anonymity facilitates illegal activities like market manipulation and embezzlement.

However, the CTA has drawn sharp criticism from SMBs, who liken it to the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002, a regulatory burden often blamed for stifling innovation and growth in publicly traded companies. They raise concerns about:

  • Increased compliance costs: SMBs already grapple with complex regulations. The CTA adds another layer, requiring legal and accounting fees to navigate reporting requirements.
  • Privacy concerns: Businesses worry about the potential misuse of sensitive ownership information by government agencies or hackers.
  • Competitive disadvantage: Foreign companies with less stringent transparency rules might gain an edge.

The debate surrounding the CTA centers on finding the right balance between combating financial crime and protecting legitimate businesses. While the Act’s goals are noble, its implementation must be mindful of the potential burden it places on SMBs, the backbone of the US economy.

Here are some key considerations for moving forward:

  • Streamlining reporting requirements: Simplifying the process and providing clear guidance can reduce compliance costs for SMBs.
  • Data security safeguards: Robust measures must be in place to protect sensitive ownership information from unauthorized access.
  • Targeted enforcement: Focusing on high-risk sectors and individuals, instead of a blanket approach, can minimize the impact on legitimate businesses.

The CTA is a complex and multifaceted issue with no easy answers. Finding a solution that effectively combats financial crime while supporting the growth and prosperity of SMBs will require careful consideration and ongoing dialogue between policymakers, businesses, and the public. That is very hard to find in the current political environment.


As a lawyer who started out of college as an accountant, and passed the CPA exam, Daniel Cotter tries to use that knowledge and business acumen to truly partner with his legal clients. He also spent more than 16 years of his 27 years as a lawyer in house. Clients want to have pragmatic, digestible, understandable information and advice, and someone who acts as a partner and trusted advisor.

He graduated with honors in accounting from Monmouth College and a law degree with honors from the John Marshall Law School.

Connect with Daniel through social media:

Twitter/X: SCOTUSBios

Check out more business stories here. 


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