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The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) and Its Impact on Nonprofits in 2024

The Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), which came into effect on January 1, 2024, represents a significant shift in the regulatory landscape for U.S. businesses, including any non-exempt nonprofit organizations such as churches and charitable organizations. The implementation of the Corporate Transparency Act marks a pivotal moment in the fight against financial crimes, signaling a concerted effort to strengthen accountability and integrity within the business and nonprofit sectors. 

This legislation aims to enhance financial transparency and combat illicit activities by requiring certain entities to report beneficial ownership information to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). By mandating the disclosure of beneficial ownership details, the CTA seeks to create a more transparent environment that deters illicit activities and promotes a culture of compliance across diverse entities operating within the United States.

What Nonprofits Need to Know

Exemptions for Nonprofits

If your nonprofit has applied for 501(c) status but has not yet received it, you could potentially be subject to reporting requirements under the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA).

Nonprofits with an active 501(c) status, political organizations under Section 527(e)(1), or charitable or split-interest trusts are exempt from the CTA’s reporting requirements. This broad exemption covers a wide range of nonprofit organizations, including most charities, schools, religious organizations, private foundations, social welfare organizations, labor organizations, trade associations, chambers of commerce, and social clubs. It’s important to note that the exemption applies without regard to whether the organization has filed an application for recognition of tax-exempt status pursuant to IRC 508(a)

Implications for Noncompliant Nonprofits

Nonprofits that do not meet the exemption criteria must comply with the CTA’s reporting requirements. 

Examples of Noncompliant Nonprofits

Defective Drafting: Nonprofit organizations with defective drafting of their Articles of Incorporation could inadvertently trigger reporting disclosures under the CTA, even if they might otherwise qualify for an exemption.

Loss of Tax-Exempt Status: Nonprofits that lose their IRC 501(c) exempt status, for instance by failing to file their annual information return (IRS Form 990) for three consecutive years, could inadvertently become subject to the CTA’s reporting requirements.

Homeowner and Condominium Associations: Entities covered by IRC 528, such as homeowner and condominium associations, fall outside the CTA’s exemption for tax-exempt entities, potentially making them subject to reporting obligations.

Nonprofit Organizations with Complex Structures: Nonprofits with intricate corporate structures or engaging in business activities with outside for-profit investors may become subject to the CTA’s reporting requirements if they do not qualify for exemptions.

Consequences of Noncompliance

Noncompliant nonprofits face various consequences:

Fines: Nonprofits failing to comply with the CTA’s reporting requirements may incur fines of $500 per day, up to a maximum amount, for each violation.

Criminal Charges: In certain circumstances where a person willfully fails to file any required report, regulators may pursue criminal penalties, including imprisonment.

Reputational Damage: Noncompliance with the CTA can tarnish a nonprofit organization’s reputation and erode public trust in its operations and governance.

It is imperative for nonprofits to understand their obligations under the CTA, assess their status, and take necessary steps to ensure compliance. By proactively addressing these requirements, nonprofits can safeguard their operations, maintain transparency, and uphold accountability within the sector.

Steps to Ensure Compliance

  1. Assess Your Status: Determine whether your nonprofit organization qualifies for an exemption under the CTA.
  2. Gather Required Information: If not exempt, collect the necessary information about beneficial owners and company applicants as outlined by the CTA.
  3. Report to FinCEN: Submit the required information to FinCEN within the specified deadlines.
  4. Stay Informed: Keep abreast of any updates or changes to the CTA and its reporting requirements.

Broader Implications for Transparency and Accountability

The CTA is part of a broader movement towards increased transparency and accountability. By requiring detailed reporting of beneficial ownership information, the CTA aims to prevent the misuse of entities for illicit purposes. This move is expected to bolster the integrity of the financial system and enhance public trust.

Nonprofits and the Risk of Illicit Financial Activities

Nonprofits can be vulnerable to financial abuse, including money laundering, due to their unique characteristics. Here are some ways in which nonprofits can be used for illicit financial purposes:

Overvaluation of Donated Assets: Donors may contribute assets like property or artwork to a charity and inflate their value, allowing them to claim larger tax deductions and launder money.

Front Organizations: Criminals may establish charities as fronts for illegal activities, using the nonprofit’s tax-exempt status to legitimize illicit funds.

Misuse of Funds: Charities’ funds may be diverted for illegal activities or invested in unlawful businesses, risking legal action and reputational damage.

Misrepresentation of Purpose: Money launderers may misrepresent the purpose of donations or use the charity’s name to launder money, complicating detection and prevention efforts.

Best Practices for Nonprofits to Mitigate Risks

To combat these risks, nonprofits should implement robust policies and procedures:

Due Diligence: Conduct thorough due diligence on donors and partners to understand the source of funds and the legitimacy of contributions.

Financial Controls: Establish strong internal controls and maintain comprehensive records of financial transactions to ensure funds are used as intended.

Risk Assessments: Perform regular risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities within the organization’s operations and take appropriate mitigation measures.

Education and Training: Educate staff and volunteers on recognizing and reporting money laundering activities.

Regulatory Compliance: Stay informed about and comply with relevant regulations and international recommendations on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing.


The Corporate Transparency Act has rolled out fresh compliance measures that might affect numerous nonprofit organizations awaiting nonprofit status. Although churches and charitable groups are typically exempt, it’s vital for all nonprofits to evaluate their status and take necessary actions to meet compliance standards. For those needing assistance, Temple Management Consulting is ready to provide expert guidance and support.


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