Georgia-USA: Regional 2024 Doing Business In Update

Published on May 13, 2024

2024 Georgia-USA Regional Update

Firm Name: Miller & Martin PLLC
Authors: Meredith Lee, Cory McKenna

1. How is the political environment impacting business in or with your country?

Georgia and Tennessee (the states in which our firm's footprint is largest) both remain very "open for business." The southeastern US, in general, has a pro-business climate driven by favorable tax and employment laws/structures, which has resulted in significant inbound investment (both foreign and from other regions within the US) in recent years. Our firm has a strong incentives practice (led by Tom Harrold, a former WLG President) that assists foreign companies interested in investing in the southeast in navigating economic development programs, negotiating incentives, and ultimately obtaining incentive packages.

More broadly, fed rate hikes over the last 3 years have cooled business within the US to varying degrees depending on the industry. However, with rates appearing to now be settling, we are seeing an uptick in transactions across the board. Looking forward, businesses have trepidation surrounding the looming 2024 presidential election and its potential impact on economic policies.

2. Which countries have you previously collaborated with and do you see potential for future collaboration with on cross-border matters within the region?

Historically, our firm has primarily worked with European clients - many from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, and Austria in industries ranging from private equity, floor manufacturing/textiles, heavy machinery (woodworking and mulching equipment), steel fabrication, packaging machinery, kitchen appliances, warehouse equipment, food and beverage, and auto parts. With respect to potential future collaboration, we are excited about the many Korean automotive companies we are seeing moving to the southeast and are hopeful that the trend continues.

3. What legislation has recently changed or is changing that a potential international client should be aware of?

The Corporate Transparency Act is a new federal law enacted to combat money laundering, terrorism, tax fraud, and other illegal activities. It is similar to the KYC policies and regulations applicable to non-US companies. As of January 1, 2024, the CTA requires domestic and foreign entities (with various exceptions, such as for operating businesses with 20 or more full-time employees) to submit annual reports to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network containing personally identifying information about the entity's beneficial owners and the individuals who formed the entity. FinCEN has indicated that the willful failure to comply with the CTA's reporting requirements may result in civil penalties of up to $500 for each day the violation continues or criminal penalties, including imprisonment for up to two years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Given the potentially severe penalties associated with non-compliance and the lack of enforcement history, our firm has made the CTA a point of emphasis for our clients. We've given numerous presentations on the CTA both to clients directly and as part of conferences and panel discussions We continue to monitor the implementation of the CTA and update clients as new developments occur.