Navigating the Corporate Transparency Act for Dissolved Entities

In the complex terrain of legal compliance, the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) is enhancing transparency and curbing illicit activities. It mandates that a “reporting company” must submit a beneficial ownership report, aiming to peel back the corporate veil to reveal the true owners behind business entities. However, an area of ambiguity within this regulation involves entities that are either on the brink of dissolution or have already been dissolved.

What are Dissolved Entities?

A dissolved entity refers to a business that has been formally closed or terminated with the registering state. Dissolution can be voluntary, where the owners decide to wind down the business, or involuntary, triggered by failure to comply with legal requirements or court orders. Dissolved entities cease to operate as going concerns, but this does not necessarily mean they immediately cease to exist legally. There’s a winding-up period during which the business settles debts, liquidates assets, and distributes any remaining assets to shareholders or owners.

The Grey Area of Dissolved Entities

One significant grey area within these regulations is the status of entities that are in the process of dissolution or have already been dissolved.

While an entity may be dissolved for various reasons, such as failing to meet annual requirements or through voluntary action by its members, it continues to exist legally for the purpose of winding up its activities. This winding-up phase allows the entity to settle disputes, sell assets, and fulfill other concluding obligations.

The Imperative for Continued Reporting

Given the CTA’s goal of enabling law enforcement to track the ownership and control of business entities, it stands to reason that the dissolution of a company should not exempt it from reporting its beneficial ownership information.

This is particularly pertinent as dissolved entities retain the capability to execute significant financial transactions during their wind-up phase. Additionally, the possibility for an LLC to revoke its dissolution and resume active business underscores the need for ongoing transparency in reporting beneficial ownership.

Key Provisions of the CTA

  • Beneficial Ownership Reporting: Most corporations, LLCs, and similar entities will need to report information on their beneficial owners (individuals who own, control, or benefit from the entity) to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
  • Applicability to Dissolved Entities: The CTA requires entities to report beneficial ownership information. Dissolved entities that undergo liquidation or significant changes in ownership near the time of dissolution may have reporting obligations under the CTA.
  • Penalties for Non-Compliance: Entities that fail to comply with the CTA’s reporting requirements may face substantial fines and criminal penalties.

Impact on Dissolved Entities

The introduction of the CTA presents new considerations for the dissolution process:

  • Enhanced Due Diligence: Businesses must ensure that they accurately report any changes in beneficial ownership as part of the dissolution process.
  • Record-Keeping: Dissolved entities may need to maintain records of beneficial ownership information for a period after dissolution to comply with potential future inquiries or audits.
  • Legal and Financial Planning: The CTA underscores the importance of careful legal and financial planning during the dissolution process to avoid potential penalties.

Dissolved Entities and the CTA

The dissolution of a business entity and compliance with the Corporate Transparency Act are intricate processes with significant legal and financial implications. It’s imperative for businesses to navigate these waters with thorough understanding and diligence.

Inactive Entities:

The inactive entity exemption is highly restrictive. To qualify, an entity must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Existed on or before January 1, 2020.
  2. Not actively engaged in business.
  3. Not owned by a foreign person.
  4. No change in ownership in the last 12 months.
  5. No transactions exceeding $1,000 in the last 12 months.
  6. No asset holdings of any kind.


The CTA introduces a new layer of complexity but also serves a crucial role in enhancing the transparency and integrity of business operations in the United States. As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, staying informed and seeking professional advice is key to ensuring compliance and safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders involved in the dissolution process.

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