Kewal Krishan & Co, Chartered Accountants
beneficial owners

Unravelling the Exceptions: Who Doesn’t Fit the Beneficial Owner Definition?

The world of beneficial ownership isn’t always black and white. There are exceptions to the rule, five to be exact. Let’s dive into the intricacies of these exceptions and see if they apply to individuals who might otherwise be considered beneficial owners of your company.

Exception #1: Minor Child

– If the individual is a minor child as defined by state or tribal law where your company is created or registered, they qualify for this exception.

– Special rule: Instead of reporting the minor child, you may report the parent or legal guardian.

– Keep in mind, this exception ceases when the child reaches the age of majority, as defined by state or tribal law.

Exception #2: Nominee, Intermediary, Custodian, or Agent

– The individual acts on behalf of an actual beneficial owner as a nominee, intermediary, custodian, or agent.

Exception #3: Employee

– The individual is an employee as defined in 26 CFR 54.4980H-1(a)(15), meaning they’re under the employer’s control regarding work and can be discharged by the employer.

– Their control over or benefits from the company solely result from their employment.

– They are not senior officers of the company.

Exception #4: Inheritor

– The individual’s sole interest in the company is a future interest through inheritance, like a will granting them a future stake in the company.

– Note: This exception expires once they inherit the interest.

Exception #5: Creditor

– The individual is a creditor of the company.

– A creditor here is someone who would be considered a beneficial owner solely through rights or interests related to payment of a predetermined sum of money, such as a debt incurred by the company or a loan covenant.

– For example, if the individual is entitled to payment from the company to settle a loan or debt, and this entitlement is their only ownership interest, they qualify for the creditor exception.

These exceptions provide some clarity in complex situations. Remember, the world of beneficial ownership can be intricate, so consulting with experts is often wise.

Conclusion: Navigating the Gray Areas of Beneficial Ownership

Understanding the exceptions to beneficial ownership is crucial for compliance with financial regulations. These exceptions delineate the boundaries of who is considered a beneficial owner, highlighting the importance of context in legal definitions. From minor children to employees and creditors, the nuances of these exceptions reveal the complexity of regulatory compliance. It’s essential for companies to stay informed and consult with compliance experts to ensure accurate reporting and adherence to legal standards.

Have Questions?

Don’t let the maze of Beneficial Ownership Information reporting overwhelm you. Reach out to our team for expert guidance and support tailored to your business needs. Contact our COO Anshul Goyal at and schedule a consultation today to navigate the compliance waters with confidence.


This content is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, or financial advice. The definitions and regulations discussed are subject to change, and the applicability of the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Rule may vary depending on specific circumstances. Always consult with a qualified professional to understand how these regulations apply to your particular situation.

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