Federal Reporting Rules for Cash Transactions in Excess of $10,000

February 03, 2020

By Timothy Speiss

As part of the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, President Nixon signed the Bank Secrecy Act in 1970 to help prevent criminals from using financial institutions to hide or launder illegally transacted cash payments and receipts. Banks must report any deposits and withdrawals that they receive of more than $10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service. Financial institutions must also provide regulators other documentation, such as currency transaction reports, which could be used to reconstruct the nature of the transactions. Depositors, on the other hand, must complete and submit IRS Form 8300, which initiates the currency transaction reporting process.

What if I Forget to Report?

The penalty for failing to file Form 8300 is $100 per infraction. For a single transaction, the fine comprises $100 for failing to inform the payor that you filed Form 8300 with the IRS and $100 for failing to file the appropriate form with the IRS. These penalties have been subsequently increased via the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015. In addition, penalty amounts are now adjusted annually for inflation.

When Does a Bank Have to Report Your Deposit? 

The bank or credit union must report transactions over $10,000 to the government within 15 days of receiving the deposit. During this 15-day period, the bank reviews reportable transactions that pass through its receipt and disbursements systems. Private businesses also need to undertake a similar reporting process if a customer makes a large, cash-only purchase, such as an automobile, car, house, and so forth.

Does This Apply Only to Cash? 

This law covers the coins and currency of the U.S. or a foreign country. This extends to cashier’s checks, bank drafts, traveler’s checks and money orders with a face value of $10,000 or more, if the business receives the currency for a designated reporting transaction. These include a consumer durable such as an automobile, boat, or property (other than land or buildings); or a collectible such as a rug, artwork, antique, metal, gem, stamp or coin.

The reporting rule also applies to travel or entertainment, if the total sales price of all items sold for the same trip or entertainment event, in one or related transactions, is more than $10,000. Cash does not include personal checks drawn on the account of the writer, a cashier’s check, bank draft, traveler’s check or money order with a face value of more than $10,000.

What About Small Business That Deal Primarily in Cash?

The above rules apply to entities that receive cash in a trade or business. The Form 8300 filing requirement also applies.

Should You Worry About Your Deposits Being Reported to the IRS? 

In addition to filing Form 8300 with the IRS, companies need to furnish a written statement to each person whose name is required to be included in the Form 8300 by January 31 of the year following the transaction. This statement must include the name, address, contact person, and telephone number of the business filing Form 8300, aggregate amount of reportable cash the business was required to report to the IRS from the person receiving the statement, and confirmation that the business provided this information to the IRS.

Could This Trigger an IRS Audit? 

Selling any asset, such as a car, for cash in an amount of $10,000 or more and then depositing it into a bank account requires the filing of Form 8300. As such, these and other types of transactions could trigger a review and IRS audit of your financial records.

For cash transactions in excess of $10,000, fill out the correct forms and report cash payments to the IRS. Do you really want to take a chance and possibly incur penalties and an IRS review of your records?

About Timothy Speiss

Timothy Speiss is Co-Leader of EisnerAmper's Personal Wealth Advisors Group and Vice President of EisnerAmper Wealth Planning LLC. He chairs our Asia Practice and is a member of the firm’s community service group, EisnerAmper Cares.