Government Affairs

FinCEN Extends Title Company Notification Requirements

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has extended the Geographic Targeting Order (GTO) — last issued on 22 August 2017 — for another six months. The renewed GTO, effective 20 March 2018, through 16 September 2018, requires title insurance companies to record and file information regarding entities involved in high-dollar residential real estate transactions in specific U.S. cities, counties and boroughs.

How this will impact mobility:  The transfer of an employee often involves the sale of a home. It is important that title insurance companies and other Worldwide ERC® members involved in real estate transactions are aware of the potential efforts to use properties to launder money, and subsequent reporting requirements to curb these efforts.

Under the GTO, title insurance companies and any of its subsidiaries and agents are considered a “Covered Business” and subject to the Order. A “Covered Transaction,” which prompts the additional record keeping and filing by a covered business, refers to an entity which purchases, without external financing, residential real estate in the below areas for more than the listed corresponding amounts.

The areas and dollar thresholds are as follows:

  • Bexar County, Texas: $500,000
  • Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach Counties, Florida: $1,000,000
  • Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island Boroughs, New York City, New York: $1,500,000
  • San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara Counties, California: $2,000,000
  • Manhattan Borough, New York City, New York: $3,000,000
  • Honolulu City and County, Hawaii: $3,000,000

Those title insurance companies involved in a covered transaction have 30 days from the closing on the residential property to file a FinCEN form 8300. The Order lists the specific information which needs to be included on the form. Covered businesses must retain information regarding covered transactions for five years. Regarding the penalties for noncompliance with the Order, companies and “any of its officers, directors, employees, and agents may be liable, without limitation, for civil penalties for violating any of the terms of this Order.”