December 18, 2023

Your Business News & Updates

The City of Laguna Niguel proudly provides timely news, information, resources, programs and updates for our business community.
Visit our Economic Development Webpage

Take Advantage of Vast Exposure for Your Business

The City launched its FREE Featured Business program in 2020 to highlight and honor local businesses, their goods and services and acknowledge their vast contributions to our community. Since then, the program has promoted many Laguna Niguel businesses and has been a model for other cities to follow.


In 2024, you have the chance to have your business featured with a special video on the City's YouTube channel and social media and highlighted in this economic development eNewsletter. To learn more, contact us today at

New Federal Law will Impact Affect Small Businesses

On Jan. 1, 2024, a new federal law comes into effect, requiring more than 30 million small and medium-sized businesses to report ownership information to the federal government, according to this article by the Orange County Register.

Read on for more information from the OC Register:

The law is far-reaching and may affect you in unexpected ways. Failure to timely file the report could result in fines of $500 per day, up to $10,000 maximum, or two years’ jail time. This is not something you can ignore if you own a business or maintain a business entity.

What is It?

The Corporate Transparency Act was passed in 2021 to eliminate anonymity in business ownership that previously allowed bad actors to hide illicit financial dealings and launder money, which they sometimes used in terrorist activities.

You might think that means the law doesn’t apply to you, but you might be wrong. The CTA casts a very wide net.

The law directs the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (a unit of the Department of Treasury, known as “FinCEN”) to create a massive database of business “beneficial” ownership information for use by the government in identifying the individual owners of privately held assets.

FinCEN will be gathering that data from business owners and family companies, including that limited liability company you formed to hold your vacation home or rental property.

Who must report?

With 24 very narrow exceptions (which will be covered in a later article but are mostly financial institutions and industries already heavily regulated by the US government), the CTA reporting requirements apply to any business that is created by “filing a document” with a state or Indian tribe.

This includes LLCs, corporations (S and C), limited partnerships, other closely held businesses, and in some circumstances, trusts. The CTA refers to these as “reporting companies,” and FinCEN estimates there will be more than 32 million of them required to act in 2024.

Your LLC that holds rental properties, your S corporation from which you operate your small business, the corporation owned and operated by generations of your family, the LLC you formed to sell T-shirts or eBay items, and your S corporation management entity that owns a C corporation operating entity that leases equipment from that LLC you own, all are likely “reporting companies.”

What has to be reported?

Reporting Companies must report to FinCEN certain information — the kind we generally work hard to keep private — with respect to the “company applicant” and the “beneficial owners” of the company.

Although FinCEN has yet to release the specific forms, the reporting company must provide the following information for each “company applicant” and “beneficial owner” and must keep the information current: full legal name; date of birth; a copy of a valid photo ID (driver’s license, state ID, or passport) that has the same name and date of birth); residential address (no PO boxes, no business address, no using your lawyer or accountant’s office address).

Reporting companies will have to collect this information from each “beneficial owner” — a term not as straightforward as it sounds — and then file the required report with FinCEN.

Reporting companies formed on or after Jan. 1, 2024, will need to report “company applicants,” as well.

Also, anytime there is a change in the beneficial ownership or in the information provided by the company applicant or beneficial owners (e.g., someone moves or renews their driver’s license), the reporting company has 30 days to file an updated report.

After the initial filing, the filing requirements are event-driven, rather than on a specific timeline, which effectively puts the burden on the reporting companies to regularly check with their beneficial owners as to when an update is needed.

Who is a company applicant

A “company applicant” is the person who files the application to form an entity.

In my office, that would be me, my associate attorney and/or my paralegal. Each reporting company for whom we file entity formation documents after this year will be required to include our information in their report.

Who is a beneficial owner?

The term “beneficial owner” is more complicated.

In general, a beneficial owner is someone who owns or controls, directly or indirectly, 25% or more of the entity’s ownership interest, or exercises “substantial control” over the entity. What constitutes “substantial control” is the kind of thing litigators love to argue about.

And here, the proposed regulations included a lengthy list of non-exclusive examples and then chased its tail by saying “and any other forms of substantial control over the reporting company.”

When must the report be filed?

Reporting companies formed before Jan. 1, 2024 will have until Jan.1, 2025 to file the required report. Reporting companies formed on or after Jan. 1, 2024 will have 90 days from the date of formation to file the report. This means newly formed entities will be the test subjects for this new, far-reaching, untested, privacy-invading law. If you are planning to create a new business entity, consider forming it in 2023.

Read more of the OC Register article at this link

Small Business Support

The City’s Economic Development Website features a host of information to help businesses thrive. Here is a sample of some resources for small businesses.


The City and SCORE, a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small business, teams up to provide free business training workshops and one-on-one business mentoring. Visit SCORE's website for detailed information and local events.

Need help with a business idea or challenge? Whether you are launching a start-up or growing an existing business, get expert advice from an experienced business counselor on a variety of topics to help you be more successful. Mentoring sessions are available by appointment between 9 am to noon on Tuesdays at the Laguna Niguel Crown Valley Community Center. Schedule appointments with SCORE at 714-550-7369.

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The Orange County SBDC's services include training, access to resources, and no-charge, one-on-one, confidential consulting covering business development, operations, marketing, financing, and government and corporate contracting. Workshops, seminars, and conferences are offered on a variety of topics including access to capital, traditional and online marketing, and sales. A dedicated team has guided small business owners and entrepreneurs to achieve success. For more information, visit this link.

IBank Small Business Finance Center

IBank's Small Business Finance Center features a loan guarantee program designed to assist small businesses that experience capital access barriers. The Small Business Loan Guarantee program encourages lenders to provide funds to small businesses to help them grow and prosper.

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