U.S. House of Representatives Passes FinCEN Improvement Act

On 12 September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote the FinCEN Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 6411).

While the bipartisan legislation moved swiftly through the House without any objection, it is uncertain as to whether the Senate will have sufficient time to consider the bill before the end of the year.

How This Impacts Mobility

H.R. 6411 is only four pages, but it strengthens three key duties of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). First, although since its inception FinCEN has assisted law enforcement agencies on domestic as well as international issues, H.R. 6411 would codify the domestic charge. Second, the legislation would officially add tribal law enforcement agencies to the list of law enforcement partners for FinCEN. Finally, and most relevant to mobility, FinCen as a clear duty would have “matters involving emerging technologies or value that substitutes for currency” as part of its anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering efforts.

FinCEN was established as a bureau under the U.S. Department of the Treasury on 25 April 1990, through Treasury Order Numbered 105-08. The bureau is responsible for protecting the integrity of the U.S. financial system primarily through efforts to thwart money laundering. In regard to the real estate and mortgage jurisdiction, FinCEN has set the reporting requirements and issued advisories on real estate transactions which are more prone to involve money laundering.

In a guidance released on 18 March 2013, FinCEN added virtual monies to its definition of currency. The language of H.R. 6411 reinforces that expanded definition which will further emphasis that responsibility.

The increased use of virtual monies and emerging technology for other types of alternative transactions, especially in the purchase or sale of a home, has a direct impact on the mobility industry. As the U.S. enforcer and regulator on many of these transactions, FinCEN would officially have a larger role in overseeing transactions of organizations moving employees domestically in the U.S. and around the globe.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Steve Pearce (R-NM) introduced H.R. 6411 on 17 July 2018, and the bill was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. The Committee discharged the bill without formal consideration. On 12 September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6411 without objection and on 17 September, the legislation was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs for its consideration.

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