I am selling my car to an individual who wishes to purchase the car from me for 30k in cash. I asked for a check instead but they stated they only have cash. What sort of paperwork would I need to submit to deposit this cash into my checking account. I am selling the car at a loss so there are no capital gains on this sale.

  • 2
    Slightly off-topic tip: If you are accepting a large amount of cash like 30k, do the transaction in a public place. Perfect solution is to meet at your bank, and to have the cash deposited directly into your account with the buyer present. This will really reduce your risk. May 19, 2021 at 13:44

2 Answers 2


You don't need any paperwork other than a deposit slip to deposit the cash into the account. The BANK will need to fill out a form to help the Government detect money laundering, counterfeiting and other crimes. If you aren't doing any of these things you have nothing to worry about.

This is not going to trigger any tax liability unless you report it on your tax returns as a capital gain or other type of income.

The one thing you DON'T want to do is split it into several smaller deposits that are just below the reporting limit. That is called "structuring" and will trigger some alarm bells you don't want rung.

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    I'm from the UK, so I don't know how zealous the US is in investigating potential money laundering, but might it be prudent to keep copies of related documents in case OP is questioned? Not sure of the correct terms, but things like car registration document (pink slip?), any transfer of ownership document that might be sent to the DMV, and possibly some kind of "bill of sale" signed by the purchaser?
    – TripeHound
    May 18, 2021 at 9:46
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    I'd consider contacting the bank ahead of time and see if they have any kind of service that would scan the bills for counterfeit and have the potential buyer meet you right there at the bank. Less likely you'll get robbed on the way out, etc. too... May 18, 2021 at 21:18
  • The teller will fill out the CTR (Currency Transaction Report, FinCEN form 112 or equivalent) but they will want to see your ID to do it. (If you have been driving the car legally, you necessarily have such ID.) May 19, 2021 at 11:35
  • This answer could stand to have a stronger warning about structuring in the USA. It won't merely cause unwanted scrutiny that might turn out fine. Structuring (to avoid reporting) is a federal crime even if the money involved was obtained completely legally. law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/31/5324 irs.gov/irm/part4/irm_04-026-013
    – nobody
    Dec 26, 2021 at 19:16

Your main risk is being tricked by the buyer. There are not many (legal) reasons why someone has 30k in cash but cannot use bank account to pay you, so chances are the money is illegal. That is not really your problem, unless the police thinks you should have reasonably known that, or the money is fake.

If the government comes after you (chances are they have bigger fish to fry), you should be able to prove how you came into posession of it - which should be easy, the car ownership was in your name, and is now transferred. Having a copy of the sale contract might be helpful.

It is legal to sell your car for cash; just be careful that you don't get tricked or robbed.

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