The Hustle

Anonymous shell companies will (finally) be illegal

The new defense bill will make disclosure requirements for new LLCs much more strict.


January 4, 2021

In the ranking of “Why is this thing allowed to exist?”, anonymous shell companies are pretty high up there.

Per The Economist, the situation is so bad that America ranks 2nd-worst on another list, The Tax Justice Network’s financial-secrecy index. It barely beats out the Cayman Islands, a place synonymous with shady financial dealings.

Here’s an embarrassing fact: In all 50 states, there are more disclosure requirements to get a library card than to start a new LLC.

Things are set to change

As part of the new defense bill, anti-money-laundering rules will have stricter disclosure requirements, including naming true owners, not just people who signed the papers.

“Required ownership disclosures will help prevent terror groups, drug cartels or other bad actors,” writes the Wall Street Journal.

The US Treasury Department will outline the exact measures over the next year.

Not everyone is happy with the new rules

The National Federation of Independent Business says additional requirements — and threats of fines — will be a burden for small businesses.

However, the estimated filing time is only 30 minutes.

The new bill will also create new avenues for whistleblowers to report on financial crimes, per the WSJ. Together, these moves should improve America’s dubious standing on that good ‘ol financial-secrecy index.

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