Treasury Regulators Propose Beneficial Ownership Rule for All-Cash Residential Transactions
February 9, 2024
This week, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) proposed a rule that would require certain real estate professionals involved in the closing or settlement of residential transfers to report information to FinCEN about the beneficial owners of legal entities and trusts involving all-cash transactions. The rule would not require the reporting of sales to individuals. (Reuters and AP, Feb. 7)
The proposed rule would require reporting on various types of residential real property transfers. Exceptions would apply for highly regulated types of entities and trusts that are less likely to be used by illicit actors to launder money through residential real property. (FinCEN Fact Sheet on NPRM, Feb. 6)
FinCEN expects that the obligation to file Real Estate Reports would generally apply to settlement agents, title insurance agents, escrow agents, and attorneys.
Comments about the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be accepted for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.
Small Business Registry
Treasury has also pursued the development of a new small business ownership database called the beneficial ownership registry, which is expected to include personal information on the owners of at least 32 million U.S. businesses. (AP, Feb. 7 | FinCEN’s background information and FAQs on reporting)
The registry requires millions of companies to report information about persons who own at least 25% of a company or exert significant authority over it to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).These beneficial ownership regulations took effect on Jan. 1, 2024 under the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). (Final Rule | Fact Sheet | Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Law, Sept. 29)
On Jan. 8, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that 100,000 businesses have registered for the new database. (AP, Jan. 8)
Ten national real estate industry organizations and The Roundtable submitted detailed comments to FinCEN on Feb. 21, 2022 about the proposed anti-money laundering regulations affecting real estate transactions. (Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 25, 2022)
On Oct. 13, 2023, The Roundtable and a coalition of eight national real estate groups urged Treasury Secretary Yellen to delay the implementation of these burdensome reporting requirements. (Coalition letter | Roundtable Weekly, Oct. 20 and Sept. 30)