2024 Federal Requirement: The Corporate Transparency Act requires businesses to file FinCEN’s Beneficial Ownership Information Report. Get the eBook for Firms & Filers

Bugs Found in FinCEN’s Beneficial Ownership Report Filing System

The BOI E-Filing System helps us report Beneficial Ownership Reports (BOR) as needed by the Corporate Transparency Act. 

While using the system, we spotted some things that might add confusion to Beneficial Ownership report filing.

It’s worth noting that these potential issues aren’t covered in FinCEN’s Small Business Compliance Guide or might present different information than in the guide.

This article highlights these observations, providing some insight during the filing process.

Quick Beneficial Ownership Report Filing System Definition:

The FinCEN E-Filing System is a tool for submitting the Beneficial Ownership Report (BOR) as required by the Corporate Transparency Act.

Conflicting Information in BOI Small Business Compliance Guide and BOIR Filing Instructions:

Upon closer inspection of the BOI Small Business Compliance Guide and BOIR filing instructions, it’s apparent that conflicting information exists.

Notably, there needs to be more clarity concerning Social Security Numbers (SSN) and the number of company applicants to report.

This inconsistency might induce uncertainty and contribute to errors for individuals utilizing the BOI E-Filing system. It’s disheartening to encounter such differences when it’s imperative for this information to be uniform.

At the same time, we acknowledge that the system is new and may have some glitches, but ensuring perfection before its widespread rollout should have been essential.

Let’s take a closer look at a couple of the errors we encountered.

More Than Two Company Applicants in Beneficial Ownership Report:

FinCEN BOI E-Filing System Screenshot highlighting potential error with Company Applicant information. Notice that it allows 3 or more applicants in the Beneficial Ownership Report above.

The BOI E-Filing System has a button that, against FinCEN’s published guidelines, allows you to add more than two company applicants.

The BOI Small Business Compliance Guide suggest two entries for company applicants. However, the system allows for extra entries, which might cause confusion.

It’s important to be careful because this system feature might not match what the guide advises.

When using the E-Filing System, remember that it might let you include more applicants than the guide recommends, but you should limit submissions to two applicants. Knowing about this is crucial to staying accurate and following the rules when filing.

Suggested Improvement:

To keep filing simple and match the guide, it should have a limit of two spaces for company applicants on the platform, aligning with the guidelines published by FinCEN.

In-Text Citation: (BOI Small Entity Compliance Guide, 2023, p. 34, Chapter 3, Section 3.2)
Reference/Bibliography Entry: FinCEN. (2023). BOI Small Business Compliance Guide (p. 34, Chapter 3, Section 3.2). Retrieved from https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/BOI_Small_Compliance_Guide.v1.1-FINAL.pdf

SSN Information Request in Beneficial Ownership Report:

BOI SSN request
FinCEN BOI E-Filing System Screenshot highlighting potential error with social security number information. The system allows SSN in addition to ITIN which does not match the guide for Beneficial Ownership Report

We spotted another detail: the E-Filing System is allowing Social Security Numbers (SSN) as well as ITIN, which seems different from what the BOI Small Business Compliance Guide tells us.

The guide doesn’t mention Social Security Numbers (SSNs) as an option, so this might be unexpected.

The SSN request could cause confusion, especially for those who are carefully following the guide’s instructions on filing.

It’s crucial to know that while the system asks for SSN, the guide doesn’t discuss it. So, if you’re using the system and notice this difference, it’s good to double-check and make sure you’re following the guide’s instructions closely. Social security numbers are only mentioned in the help guide for the filing portal itself.

Suggested Improvement for Beneficial Ownership Report:

To make things consistent and less confusing, it would be helpful if FinCEN clarified when reporting companies can use an SSN as their Tax Identification Number (TIN).

In-Text Citation: (BOI Small Business Compliance Guide, 2023, p. 38, Chapter 4, Section 4.1, Chart 7)
Reference/Bibliography Entry: FinCEN. (2023). BOI Small Business Compliance Guide (p. 38, Chapter 4, Section 4.1, Chart 7). Retrieved from https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/BOI_Small_Compliance_Guide.v1.1-FINAL.pdf

FincenFetch Note for BOI reporting:

FincenFetch has temporarily included an SSN field in their filing platform to match FinCEN’s platform for now. This will be removed should FinCEN update their system.

However, the FincenFetch system has not been updated to permit more than two company applicants, keeping the platform aligned with the current guidelines set by FinCEN. We believe this is a clear error of FinCEN’s part that will be rectified soon.

Final Thoughts:

These ideas are meant to help, keeping in mind the goal of making it easy for everyone to follow the rules set by the Corporate Transparency Act.

If you are looking to make your filing process smoother and align with FinCEN’s guidelines, schedule a demo with FincenFetch! Our platform prevents clients from providing information that conflicts with regulation and makes the submission process smoother for your clients. Unlike FinCEN’s filing system, FincenFetch also allows clients to load in prior reports to make updates fast, rather than starting each report from the beginning.

Our complimentary demo lets you explore all platform features, including an easy-to-use interface, our Exemption Checker tool and automatic updates. FincenFetch is here to support a hassle-free filing experience.

Charles Wismer
Charles Wismer

CEO at FincenFetch helping the U.S.professional services industry support FinCEN's new national security initiative to launch the Corporate Transparency Act. Prior fund manager and Fintech founder.

Charles Wismer
Charles Wismer

CEO at FincenFetch helping the U.S.professional services industry support FinCEN's new national security initiative to launch the Corporate Transparency Act. Prior fund manager and Fintech founder.

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