Wealthy home buyers can no longer hide their identities behind shell companies.
The U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) tightened regulations on all-cash real estate deals Thursday, requiring more transparency for pricey real estate.
Under the revised rules, U.S. title insurance companies must disclose the names of individuals behind limited liability or shell companies that make an all-cash residential home purchase of $300,000 or more.
FinCEN also expanded the definition of all-cash purchases to include virtual currencies like bitcoin.
The rule changes increase the number of reports the office will receive in addition to expanding the number of cities to which the regulations apply. Las Vegas, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and Dallas-Fort Worth were all added to the list of monitored metropolitan areas, joining Honolulu, Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Diego, and San Francisco.
Previously, the disclosure threshold varied by city—the rules applied to cash deals of $3 million or more in Manhattan, for example, but just $500,000 or more in San Antonio. Now, the individual behind any all-cash deal by a limited liability company, or LLC, of $300,000 or more in any of the 12 cities must be named.
The required disclosures are intended to help FinCEN better track money laundering and other illicit activities, but anyone making such a purchase through an LLC will be affected.