What About Suspicious Transactions?
If you receive $10,000 or less in cash, you may voluntarily file Form 8300 if the transaction appears to be suspicious.
A transaction is suspicious if it appears that a person is trying to cause you not to file Form 8300 or is trying to cause you to file a false or incomplete Form 8300, or if there is a sign of possible illegal activity.
If you are suspicious, you are encouraged to call the local IRS Criminal Investigation Division as soon as possible. Or, you can call the FinCEN Financial Institution Hotline toll free at 1-866-556-3974.
When, Where, and What To File
The amount you receive and when you receive it determine when you must file. Generally, you must file Form 8300 within 15 days after receiving a payment. If the Form 8300 due date (the 15th or last day you can timely file the form) falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, it is delayed until the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.
More than one payment. In some transactions, the buyer may arrange to pay you in cash installment payments. If the first payment is more than $10,000, you must file Form 8300 within 15 days. If the first payment is not more than $10,000, you must add the first payment and any later payments made within 1 year of the first payment. When the total cash payments are more than $10,000, you must file Form 8300 within 15 days.
After you file Form 8300, you must start a new count of cash payments received from that buyer. If you receive more than $10,000 in additional cash payments from that buyer within a 12-month period, you must file another Form 8300. You must file the form within 15 days of the payment that causes the additional payments to total more than $10,000.
If you are already required to file Form 8300 and you receive additional payments within the 15 days before you must file, you can report all the payments on one form.
Example. On January 10, you receive a cash payment of $11,000. You receive additional cash payments on the same transaction of $4,000 on February 15, $5,000 on March 20, and $6,000 on May 12. By January 25, you must file a Form 8300 for the $11,000 payment. By May 27, you must file an additional Form 8300 for the additional payments that total $15,000.
Amending a Report? If you are amending a report, check box 1a at the top of Form 8300. Complete the form in its entirety (Parts I-IV) and include the amended information. Do not attach a copy of the original report.
Where to file. Mail the form to the address given in the Form 8300 instructions.
Required statement to buyer. You must give a written or electronic statement to each person named on any Form 8300 you must file. You can give the statement electronically only if the recipient agrees to receive it in that format. The statement must show the name and address of your business, the name and phone number of a contact person, and the total amount of reportable cash you received from the person during the year. It must state that you are also reporting this information to the IRS.
You must send this statement to the buyer by January 31 of the year after the year in which you received the cash that caused you to file the form.
RECORDS: You must keep a copy of every Form 8300 you file for 5 years.
Example 1. Pat Brown is the sales manager for Small Town Cars. On January 6, 2009, Jane Smith buys a new car from Pat and pays $18,000 in cash. Pat asks for identification from Jane to get the necessary information to complete Form 8300. A filled-in form is shown in this publication.
Pat must mail the form to the address shown in the form's instructions by January 21, 2009. He must also send a statement to Jane by January 31, 2010.
Example 2. Using the same facts given in Example 1, suppose Jane had arranged to make cash payments of $6,000 each on January 6, February 6, and March 6. Pat would have to file a Form 8300 by February 26 (17 days after receiving total cash payments within 1 year over $10,000 because February 21, 2009, is a Saturday). Pat would not have to report the remaining $6,000 cash payment because it is not more than $10,000. However, he could report it if he felt it was a suspicious transaction.
There are civil penalties for failure to:
• File a correct Form 8300 by the date it is due, and
• Provide the required statement to those named in the Form 8300.
If you intentionally disregard the requirement to file a correct Form 8300 by the date it is due, the penalty is the greater of:
1. $25,000, or
2. The amount of cash you received and were required to report (up to $100,000).
There are criminal penalties for:
• Willful failure to file Form 8300,
• Willfully filing a false or fraudulent Form 8300,
• Stopping or trying to stop Form 8300 from being filed, and
• Setting up, helping to set up, or trying to set up a transaction in a way that would
make it seem unnecessary to file Form 8300.
If you willfully fail to file Form 8300, you can be fined up to $250,000 for individuals ($500,000 for corporations) or sentenced to up to 5 years in prison, or both.
The penalties for failure to file may also apply to any person (including a payer) who attempts to interfere with or prevent the seller (or business) from filing a correct Form 8300. This includes any attempt to structure the transaction in a way that would make it seem unnecessary to file Form 8300. Structuring means breaking up a large cash transaction into small cash transactions.