I plan to make large amounts of wire transfers daily (which might be more than 10k) because I am a retail seller. Is there anything that I should keep in mind? For example, I heard transactions over 10k get reported to the IRS; maybe I should split my wire transfers when the total is over 10k?

My customers pay me directly through Zelle, and I wire that money to buy the goods for my customers.


I started buying stuff for a few friends, then more and more people wanted me to buy things for them. Unfortunately, I don't have a license. Do I need one?

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    What things are you buying? Why would someone want you to be an intermediary to buy things for them rather than just buying those things themselves? Why would you be using wire transfers to purchase those things? It's conceivable that you're simply running a business where you're buying a perfectly legal commodity at wholesale prices and reselling it at retail prices and profiting on the difference. But what you're describing seems like the setup for a scam or an (intentional or unintentional) money laundering scheme which would be deeply problematic. Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 9:28
  • money.stackexchange.com/questions/91180/…
    – base64
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 10:17
  • money.stackexchange.com/questions/128180/…
    – base64
    Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 10:17
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    Anyone else getting scam warning bells here?
    – Cody
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 1:11
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    I am conservative but I would very strongly suggest that you have a chat with a lawyer about protecting yourself. It appears that you are very close if not squarely in the realm of a money transmitter business (jdsupra.com/legalnews/…) which brings with it a ream of legal requirements to prevent money laundering (among other things). I would very strongly a chat with a lawyer to make sure you stay on the right side of that line or to understand what would be required to conform to those regulations and to keep yourself safe. Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 2:26

2 Answers 2


First of all "payment structuring", which is intentionally trying to circumvent reporting requirements by making several smaller payments vs. the one large payment, is illegal and your bank will catch you. Don't do it!

Secondly, if you are operating a legitimate business, you have nothing to fear by your bank reporting your payments to the IRS. As long as you properly account for your payments and report things on your taxes, there will not be any issues.

As far as licenses, that depends on what you are doing and where you are doing it. Generally, however, you can operate a business as a sole proprietor using your personal bank account any time you want to.

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    Is it actually illegal, or will it just get reported and investigated more thoroughly than if you made the bigger payments. Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 22:55
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    @DJClayworth it is a felony in the US: 31 USC 5324, even if the money itself is legit.
    – littleadv
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 0:07

What is it you're selling that requires daily wire transfers, and in such large amounts?

As for limits, just because the $10k amount triggers mandatory reporting, don't assume the bank wouldn't report smaller amounts, especially if you're doing this on a regular basis. If this were a one-time or only occasional transfer then you could reasonably assume the bank wouldn't necessarily report that, but frequent transfers might trigger a bank's internal policy to report that activity just to keep regulators from raising issues.

And as the other person said in their answer, don't try to play cutesy by transferring multiple smaller amounts, as this might raise even more flags by making it obvious you're trying to avoid reporting.

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