"FinCEN Files" Media Report Confirms Worst Fears About Anti-Small Business Mandate

Date: October 01, 2020

The fight continues to protect small business privacy against the so-called “Corporate Transparency Act”

A recent BuzzFeed report shows a leak and misuse of banking documents from the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) bureau, the same federal agency arm that would collect small business owners’ personal information if the so-called Corporate Transparency Act is allowed to become law.

The leak and misuse of information that fed the media’s report confirms our long-held concerns about the privacy of small business owners’ information required under this anti-small business mandate, information that would be available broadly to law enforcement without subpoena or warrant.

What’s this legislation that would put my privacy at risk?

The so-called Corporate Transparency Act, if it becomes law, would create a new, periodic reporting requirement for nearly every small business with 20 or fewer employees. More than 4.9 million of America’s small corporations and limited liability companies would be required to provide personal ownership information to the U.S. Treasury’s FinCEN bureau when they start a business and again on an annual basis.

The annual paperwork includes the personally identifiable information of each business owner and the legislation grants broad access to the information to federal, state, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies without a judicial subpoena or warrant. A business owner’s failure to comply would be a federal crime with civil penalties up to $10,000 and criminal penalties of up to three years in prison.

What’s the status of the Act now?

July 21, 2020, the Corporate Transparency Act of 2019 legislation was included as an amendment within H.R. 6395, known as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA), which passed the House of Representatives. The Senate also passed an NDAA for Fiscal Year 2021, but the Senate’s defense legislation does not contain this new regulatory burden for small businesses, or any similar provisions.

What’s next?

Next, the House and Senate will conference together to work out a final National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. This conference negotiation will decide if the Corporate Transparency Act legislation is included or excluded from a final bill that will again be voted on by both chambers of Congress after the election. 

Can I help stop it?

Yes, your members of Congress want to hear from you. Consider using our take action tool to tell Congress to keep small business regulatory burdens out of NDAA. America’s small businesses have been the hardest hit by COVID-19, this is not the time to pile on administrative burdens and millions of dollars in regulatory costs each year.

Learn more and hear from NFIB members on why this legislation must be stopped.

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