Beneficial Ownership Information: Required Reporting for U.S. Companies in 2024


Elizabeth Pandolfi


Reviewed by

the Bench Tax Team


November 2, 2023

This article is Tax Professional approved


In an effort to enhance transparency and combat financial crimes, the U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has introduced new reporting requirements that mark a significant step toward safeguarding the U.S. financial system from illegal activities such as racketeering, money laundering, and terrorism. This guide is designed to help business owners understand the impact of these changes and how to comply.

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The rule applies to a wide range of entities operating within the U.S., including corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), doing business as (DBAs), and some trusts created or registered after Jan. 1, 2024. The rule is in place to prevent the misuse of shell corporations and similar entities for criminal activities by ensuring all businesses disclose their beneficial owners and their company applicants.

What small business owners need to know

While most small business owners will simply report themselves and their partners as beneficial owners, companies that have more complex ownership systems may find the reporting more time-consuming. All domestic and foreign entities operating in the U.S. are required to report beneficial ownership information to FinCEN. The criteria for reporting include having substantial control over the company or owning at least 25% of the business's ownership interests. Bench has partnered up with FileForms, a BOI-filing service that helps users avoid the government's self-filing portal entirely as it reports directly to FinCEN on your behalf, the right way. FileForm offers annual plans for entities in the midst of change as well as simple and complex ownership structures.

Understanding Beneficial Ownership and Company Applicants

Beneficial Owners (BOs) are individuals or legal entities with at least a 25% stake in the company or significant control over its decisions. FinCEN requires that every company report at least one BO, though more can be included if they meet the criteria.

Company Applicants (CAs) refer to the individuals who file the paperwork to create or register the company. This requirement only applies to companies formed or registered after Jan. 1, 2024. Unlike BOs, CAs can only be individuals. If a company has more than one CA—the direct filer and the indirect filer who is controlling or directing the filing must both be reported. Unlike a beneficial owner, company applicants can only be individuals, not legal entities.  

To determine who qualifies as a BO, FinCEN provides a flowchart for businesses with complex ownership structures.

Compliance requires electronic filing of beneficial ownership information through FinCEN's secure portal. FinCEN offers comprehensive instructions and technical guidance on its website to aid in the reporting process.

How to report beneficial owners and company applicants

Companies are to file their information electronically through the FinCEN secure portal. The agency has published instructions and technical guidance on reporting on their website at

Businesses should prepare by:

Step 1: Identify individuals with substantial control over your company and/or 25% or greater owners.

Step 2: Identify the types of ownership interest (percentage or control), and which individuals hold them.

Step 3: Calculate the percentage of ownership interest held directly or indirectly by each individual.

A FinCEN unique identifying number can be applied for and used in place of the ID information above. A FinCEN identifier is a unique number assigned to individuals or companies upon request, after submitting specific information to FinCEN. This identifier is unique, meaning you or your company can only have one. 

Business owners will need to report the following information: 

For their company: 

  • Full legal name
  • Trade name or DBA name
  • Current U.S. address for principal place of business
  • State or jurisdiction where entity is registered
  • Federal Tax ID number TIN, or Employer ID number EIN

For their beneficial owners and company applicants:

  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Current residential address
  • Unique ID number and issuing state, and image of U.S. passport, state driver’s license, other state or government issued ID

Business owners are advised to proactively gather the necessary information and familiarize themselves with the reporting process to ensure compliance and contribute to this broader effort of enhancing financial security.

Simplify The Process With FileForms

If this process seems overwhelming, you’re not alone, and there are simpler alternatives to handling it yourself.

Bench partner FileForms offers a streamlined solution that removes the complexities of the reporting process. For a nominal fee, typically just a few hundred dollars, FileForms can help you comply with these regulations efficiently. Their service enables companies to file their BOI reports directly to FinCEN in about 10 minutes — a significant time saver that also mitigates the risk of non-compliance penalties.

Key Reporting Deadlines

For businesses operational before 2024, the first BOI report must be submitted by Jan. 1, 2025. Businesses established in 2024 have 90 days from registration to comply, while those starting from Jan. 1, 2025, face a 30-day deadline.

Failure to Comply

FinCEN emphasizes awareness around the obligation to report, update, and correct BOI in a timely manner. Failure to comply with these reporting requirements can lead to severe penalties, including daily fines and imprisonment. FinCEN emphasizes the need for accurate and timely reporting and provides a 90-day grace period for corrections to avoid penalties.

Simplify the Process and Outsource

You don't need to hire a lawyer or a CPA to report beneficial ownership information. FinCEN allows for self-reporting, making the process more direct and potentially cost-effective. However, professional assistance is available if you find you need it. Bench's partner FileForms allows companies to file their BOI reports directly to FinCEN within 10 minutes, so you don't have to worry about penalties or fines.

Click here for a complete list of FAQs prepared by FileForms.

This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.
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