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Navigating the Corporate Transparency Act: Brace Yourself for Stricter Oversight for HOA Boards

HOA Loan Services can help your Homeowners Association prepare for HOA regulatory changes, stricter oversight, reporting requirements and the potential financial implications ahead.

Written by

HOA Loan Services

Published on

3

Jan

2024

Prepare for new legislation that will undoubtedly make filling vacant HOA board seats even more difficult. In the upcoming year, Community Associations (such as HOAs and Condos) will be obligated to adhere to new regulations outlined in the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). Homeowners Associations will be asked to reveal board member information to the government. Their personal information will be incorporated into a crime-fighting database.

 

Given their volunteer-oriented structure, many HOAs have fallen victim to financial fraud. Congress crafted the CTA to impede potential money laundering activities and safeguard against fraud and terrorism.

 

Fighting Corruption

By way of background, Congress enacted the CTA in 2021 to help fight fraud and corruption. The U.S. Treasury is working to combat money laundering schemes operating through illicit companies. Although the act appears to verify and reveal actual ownership of corporations, Community Associations are also subject to the requirements.

 

The CTA will mandate most Community Associations disclose information regarding individuals who control the association (board members). Before this regulation, the burden of providing this type of information resided with financial institutions. The CTA shifts this responsibility to the entity. Moreover, there will be non-compliance penalties that still need to be clarified.

 

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a government agency, will compile this data. While the intention is to restrict public access to this information, it will remain accessible to law enforcement agencies. Notwithstanding potential concerns about owner access to association records, federal law supersedes state laws and an association's by-laws.

 

Collecting and reporting specific information to FinCEN is mandatory, with periodic updates required in case of any alterations. The new heightened scrutiny places board directors under increased pressure, potentially deterring volunteers from assuming board positions.

 

Disclosing Personal Information

While some non-profit groups are exempt, most Associations are not.

The disclosure specifically includes HOA board members. The act will require associations to file a beneficial ownership report.

 

Homeowners and Condo Associations must identify their beneficial owners, individuals with influence over crucial decisions within the association, which will likely include the board members or other influential figures. The new directive stipulates that Community Associations must furnish explicit details about individuals who control the association. The report will likely include names, addresses, and other pertinent information.

 

The board of directors and their management entities need to prepare for this procedural shift. With over 350,000 Community Associations in the U.S., the significance of this transition is substantial.

 

Future Implications

Most Community Associations fall under the category of "reporting companies" as per the CTA, obligating them to submit the beneficial ownership report. While exemptions exist, they do not apply to most Community Associations. Regulatory compliance will likely result in increased operational costs. These incremental cost increases will likely be transferred to respective owners, elevating overall expenses for these associations. Regulatory cost increases, structural inspections, and rising insurance premiums may add to financial challenges for many communities.

 

Implementing the new rule will be effective on January 1, 2024. However, existing Community Associations have until January 1, 2025, to submit their initial report, while those formed after this date must comply within 30 days of their formation. Community Associations must comprehend and adhere to these new rules diligently.

 

Key Takeaways 

Purpose and Background

  • Congress enacted the CTA in 2021 to combat fraud and corruption, explicitly targeting money laundering activities through illicit companies.
  • The U.S. Treasury is actively working to expose and prevent money laundering schemes operating through corporate entities, extending the application of the act to Community Associations.

 

Board Member Information Disclosure

  • The CTA mandates Community Associations to disclose information about individuals who control the association, i.e., board members.
  • Previously, financial institutions were responsible for providing such information, but the CTA shifts this burden to the entity itself, with pending clarification on non-compliance penalties.

 

Data Compilation and Access

  • The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a government agency, will compile and manage this data.
  • While efforts are made to restrict public access, the information will be accessible to law enforcement agencies, overriding state laws and association by-laws.

 

Challenges and Implications for Community Associations

Non-Profit Exemptions

  • While some non-profit groups are exempt, most Community Associations, including HOA board members, are not.
  • Associations must file a beneficial ownership report detailing influential figures within the association.

 

Reporting Requirements

  • Community Associations must identify beneficial owners, providing explicit details such as names, addresses, and other pertinent information.
  • With over 350,000 Community Associations in the U.S., the impact of this transition is substantial, requiring proactive preparation.

 

Operational Costs and Future Implications

  • Most Community Associations fall under the "reporting companies" category, leading to increased operational costs.
  • Regulatory compliance costs, structural inspections, and rising insurance premiums may pose financial challenges for many communities.

 

Implementation Timeline

  • The new rule is effective from January 1, 2024, with existing Community Associations having until January 1, 2025, to submit their initial reports. Associations formed after this date must comply within 30 days of formation.

 

Conclusion

Associations should proactively understand and adhere to these new rules, recognizing the importance of timely and accurate collection and reporting of information. Seeking guidance from community association specialists can assist in navigating these regulatory changes, enhancing transparency, and preventing fraud.

 

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