BOI Cheat Sheet: How to Effortlessly Conquer this New Requirement

Maggie Karshner
3 min readFeb 20, 2024

If your business is or will be an LLC, PLLC, or S-corp, you’re going to want to pay attention to this! The Federal Government has instituted a new requirement. You have till the end of the year, but it costs $0 and takes like 10 minutes, so do it now! Or read on for more context and guidance…

WTF is This?

Government is a double-edged sword in so many regards. On the one hand, we want to keep all members of our society safe. On the other hand, that means more occasions for regular humans to interact with the bureaucracy. This new requirement came about from a mostly good place. The Corporate Transparency Act was passed to combat money laundering, tax fraud, and other illicit activities. Overall a good thing, right? It does mean that businesses need to file a beneficial ownership information report. By “beneficial ownership” we mean who owns the company. This is complicated in businesses where owners include shareholders, investors, or shell corporations. For self-employed businesses, they just mean you.

Do I Really Have to?

I know, we’re self-employed. We’re the smallest of the small fry of the business world. Do even WE have to do this? The short answer is yes. In fact, the only businesses exempt are big ones (presumably because they already file this info in other ways.)

“Have to” is in relation to consequences. I have no idea how much funding is going towards enforcement. Nor what businesses they might be focusing on for their enforcement. In a straightforward pro-con analysis, this will cost you 10 minutes of your time if you do it. If you don’t do it, well, you could face civil and criminal charges resulting in up to “$500 for each day that the violation continues” and “two years imprisonment.”

How am I going to remember?

In addition to being free to file, you also essentially file once. You’d need to file again if your ownership changes. For self-employed businesses, this isn’t generally part of the plan.

When?

For everyone who’s been operating a business, you’ll need to do this filing before the end of 2024. For those starting a business from here on out, they’ll need to submit this within 90 days of forming the business. If you’re reading this and you realize you’ve already missed the deadline, the best course of action is to file now!

How?

As a one-person shop, this will be very repetitive, but very easy. You’ll need:

Details about your company (aka the “reporting company”):

  • Your business name & any D.B.A.s or trade names
  • A US mailing address
  • Your EIN (or SSN if you use that in place of an EIN)

Details about you (aka the “ beneficial owner”):

  • Your name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your current address
  • A Driver’s License or Passport image

In these forms, they’re trying to accommodate ALL types of businesses. This results in absurd repetition for simple businesses like ours. For example, you’ll tell them your business address. Then they’ll want to know what jurisdiction you operate in. For you, this is the same state you just provided with your address. Don’t overthink it!

Step by Step:

  1. Gather your data.
  2. Navigate to https://boiefiling.fincen.gov and start the File BOIR process.
  3. Walk through the process until you get to the “Submission Status Confirmation” page.
  4. Download the “transcript” and save it in your records.
  5. Do something nice for yourself, bureaucracy is a pain!

Maybe it’s Not That Bad?

The prospect of interacting with government bureaucracy can feel daunting. It’s especially daunting for self-employed individuals. But the process is relatively straightforward and you can complete it quickly. By completing this filing you can ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties. It’s so simple, seize the opportunity to take care of this task now!

Originally published at https://www.maggiekarshner.com on February 20, 2024.

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Maggie Karshner

Maggie is a business coach who helps launch and grow self-employed businesses. Learn how she could help you at https://www.maggiekarshner.com/