Travelers Beware of Currency Seizures for Non-Filing FinCEN 105

Travelers Beware of Currency Seizures for Non-Filing FinCEN 105

Currency Seizures for Non-Filing FinCEN 105

When it comes to FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) the FBAR aka FinCEN Form 114 is the most common international information reporting form that US taxpayers are aware of. While the FinCEN Form 114 may be the most well-known form — as it is the primary form used to disclose foreign bank and financial accounts – there are other FinCEN reporting forms that US persons must be aware of –– especially if they are traveling or otherwise transporting currency or other types of money into or out of the United States. That is because when a person either departs or enters the United States, they may have to file a FinCEN Form 105 (Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments) or possibly risk an involuntary seizure of the money. Let’s go through the basics of FinCEN Form 105 and currency seizures:

Summary of FinCEN Form 105

Who Must File FinCEN Form 105?

      • Each person who physically transports, mails, or ships, or causes to be physically transported, mailed, or shipped currency or other monetary instruments in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000 at one time from the United States to any place outside the United States or into the United States from any place outside the United States, and

      • Each person who receives in the United States currency or other monetary instruments In an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000 at one time which have been transported, mailed, or shipped to the person from any place outside the United States.

        • A transfer of funds through normal banking procedures, which does not involve the physical transportation of currency or monetary instruments, is not required to be reported.

What does this Mean?

It means certain persons who transport or otherwise transfer certain money into our outside of the US may have to file a FinCEN 105 Form – but there are several exceptions:

Exceptions to Filing 

      • a Federal Reserve bank,

      • a bank, a foreign bank, or a broker or dealer in securities in respect to currency or other monetary instruments mailed or shipped through the postal service or by common carrier,

      • a commercial bank or trust company organized under the laws of any State or of the United States with respect to overland shipments of currency or monetary instruments shipped to or received from an established customer maintaining a deposit relationship with the bank, in amounts which the bank may reasonably conclude do not exceed amounts commensurate with the customary conduct of the business, industry, or profession of the customer concerned,

      • a person who is not a citizen or resident of the United States in respect to currency or other monetary instruments mailed or shipped from abroad to a bank or broker or dealer in securities through the postal service or by common carrier,

      • a common carrier of passengers in respect to currency or other monetary instruments in the possession of its passengers,

      • a common carrier of goods in respect to shipments of currency or monetary instruments not declared to be such by the shipper,

      • a travelers’ check issuer or its agent in respect to the transportation of travelers’ checks prior to their delivery to selling agents for eventual sale to the public,

      • a person with a restrictively endorsed traveler’s check that is in the collection and reconciliation process after the traveler’s check has been negotiated, nor by

      • a person engaged as a business in the transportation of currency, monetary instruments and other commercial papers with respect to the transportation of currency or other monetary instruments overland between established offices of banks or brokers or dealers in securities and foreign persons.

When do Recipients File FinCEN Form 105

      • Recipients—Each person who receives currency or other monetary instruments in the United States shall file FinCEN Form 105, within 15 days after receipt of the currency or monetary instruments, with the Customs officer in charge at any port of entry or departure or by mail addressed to: Attn: CBP/OIT/PSPD, 22001 Loudoun County Parkway, Mail Stop #1258, Ashburn, VA 20598.

When do Shippers or Mailers FinCEN File Form 105

      • Shippers or Mailers— lf the currency or other monetary instrument does not accompany the person entering or departing the United States, FinCEN Form 105 may be filed by mail on or before the date of entry, departure, mailing, or shipping addressed to: Attn: CBP/OIT/PSPD, 22001 Loudoun County Parkway, Mail Stop #1258, Ashburn, VA 20598

When do Travelers or Mailers FinCEN File Form 105

      • Travelers— Travelers carrying currency or other monetary instruments with them shall file FinCEN Form 105 at the time of entry into the United States or at the time of departure from the United States with the Customs officer in charge at any Customs port of entry or departure. An additional report of a particular transportation, mailing, or shipping of currency or the monetary instruments is not required if a complete and truthful report has already been filed. However, no person otherwise required to file a report shall be excused from liability for failure to do so if, in fact, a complete and truthful report has not been filed. Forms may be obtained from any Bureau of Customs and Border Protection office. PENALTIES: Civil and criminal penalties, including under certain circumstances a fine of not more than $500,000 and Imprisonment of not more than ten years, are provided for failure to file a report, filing a report containing a material omission or misstatement, or filing a false or fraudulent report. In addition, the currency or monetary instrument may be subject to seizure and forfeiture. See 31 U.S.C.5321 and 31 CFR 1010.820; 31 U.S.C. 5322 and 31 CFR 1010.840; 31 U.S.C. 5317 and 31 CFR 1010.830, and U.S.C. 5332

Key Definitions 

      • Currency: The coin and paper money of the United States or any other country that is (1) designated as legal tender and that (2) circulates and (3) is customarily accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance.

      • Monetary Instruments — (1) Coin or currency of the United States or of any other country, (2) traveler’s checks in any form, (3) negotiable instruments (including checks, promissory notes, and money orders) in bearer form, endorsed without restriction, made out to a fictitious payee, or otherwise in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery, (4) incomplete instruments (including checks, promissory notes, and money orders) that are signed but on which the name of the payee has been omitted, and (5) securities or stock in bearer form or otherwise in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery. Monetary instruments do not include (i) checks or money orders made payable to the order of a named person which have not been endorsed or which bear restrictive endorsements, (ii) warehouse receipts, or (iii) bills of lading.

      • Person—An individual, a corporation, partnership, a trust or est ate, a joint stock company, an association, a syndicate, joint venture or other unincorporated organization or group, an Indian Tribe.

Travelers are at High Risk of Currency Seizure at Airports

If a Traveler was to transport money exceeding $10,000 through the airport for example (either into the US or outside the US), without first completing a FinCEN Form 105 and submitting to Customs – they may be at risk of having their money seized and even confiscated. Even if the Customs Office is out of the way at the airport, travelers who meet the reporting requirements should plan accordingly to ensure their FinCEN 105 paperwork is properly handled — in order to avoid a preventable seizure.

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