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During the summer vacation in my home country, my parents gave me $50,000 USD in cash (they exchanged this cash several years ago from the bank by their savings) to support me buying a car. Recently (within less than 15 days) when I came back to the US, I brought this cash with me and, upon my arrival, I deposited it in my bank account on an ATM.

However, at that time I didn't realize (and sorry I didn't even do a search) that I must declare this cash to the US customs by FinCEN 105, as the amount exceeded $10,000. So I didn't declare, and just passed the "nothing to declare" gate. Neither did I know that the cash deposit, with the amount exceeding $10,000, would also be reported to IRS as part of the Bank Secrecy Act and I must file a Form 8300.

So I am wondering what will be affected, and what I need to do now. Specifically,

  • For the customs declaration at the US entrance, can I make up a FinCEN 105 filing now (even after my entrance)? What will be the consequences of doing (or not doing) so?
  • For the $50,000 deposit on ATM, I guess I need to file a Form 8300 soon (within 15 days from the deposit) right? Then, given my visa and tax status and the nature of these money, will there be any tax?
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    What's surprising about your story is that your bank accepted a $50,000 cash deposit at an ATM. Was it an ATM that belonged to your bank? Did you have to make several deposits (totaling $50K) or did the ATM accept all $50K in one swell foop? Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 20:10
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    It feels a little strange to me that someone would have enough disposable money to buy a USD 50,000 car for their child, but prefer having them carry hundreds or thousands of bank notes on their person rather than doing an international bank transfer or just paying for the car directly. Is there anything more behind this? For instance, would sanctions on the financial institutions in your home country have made this impossible?
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 6:59
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    Also, depending on the country, you may also have committed another crime upon leaving the country. For instance, if the country were China, you might have needed a special warrant to take the money out of the country, and not getting one would probably be a crime.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 7:07
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    This story sounds very shady to me. So your parents got 50,000 USD in cash several years ago in a country where they don't even use that? And only now they are handing it over? Sounds like your parents are maybe committing tax fraud if they had this cash all this time without reporting it. This last part is an assumption but even if they reported it as they should it sounds really strange that they did it like that
    – Ivo
    Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 12:05
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    @Ivo: I'd rather not judge. When one of my grandfather died, and his children went to his home to remove his personal effects, they discovered that over years he had removed all his money from the bank and hidden it in little stashes everywhere inside his home. So yes, under the mattress, but also taped under and behind drawers, everywhere... after thoroughly inspecting all pieces of furniture they recovered near $200K in small bills. And they thought he was living pension check to pension check, eh. Depending on how old dmrak parents are, or how distrusting of banks they are... Commented Sep 11, 2023 at 13:55

2 Answers 2

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Technically you were supposed to give this form to the CBP officer at the airport. See the instructions for the mailing address if you want to mail it ("When and Where to File" section).

Consequences of not filing the form when you should have are draconian:

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.

Re the form 8300 - not you needs to file it but the bank. Don't worry about it.

There's no tax as the money is yours. However, if the government suspects that the money is sourced in illegal activity (i.e.: suspects you're laundering dirty money), it may decide to seize it from you. See civil forfeiture.


Or nothing may happen if you do nothing, and you'll just fly under the radar. If you want to take the risk.

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  • Thank you @littleadv! So if I call cbp about this now and mail the filled FinCEN 105 for make up, do you think this would be risky of being seized, as I should have done that at the airport? Or, comparing to doing nothing (as I already entered the US), which do you think would be more risky? I just want to make sure I obey all laws.
    – user124875
    Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 18:48
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    @dmrak assessing risk is a job for an attorney, I really can't say. I just want to make sure I obey all laws - that ship has sailed, AFAICT.
    – littleadv
    Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 21:44
  • @dmrak Factually, you have already broken the law by not declaring your cash when you crossed the border. The real issue is what are the consequences if you do nothing vs going up to a government office and admit guilt. That'll be something that only a lawyer can answer.
    – Nelson
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 7:08
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I am not a lawyer, nor does my job intersect this question directly.

You may want to contact the bank and tell them that the money was a gift from your parents.
You can tell them you just learned about the rules regarding large cash deposits, and ask them to add that to the report they have filed. The bank may or may not enter this information into the BSA(1) paperwork when you tell them about it - I'm not sure if it is required that they do so.

Getting this information into the BSA paperwork may make it less likely that an investigation is opened into the case. For example, if their data shows that your parents can afford to give you $50k, I would think they are less likely to being a money laundering investigation.

This is just my opinion, I'm neither a lawyer nor a financial officer, nor does this in any way reflect the opinion of my employer. I have not asked anyone where I work what you should do, nor have I asked anyone if I've given good advice.

(1) - I have used the term "BSA" as this is the term that was used above.
This may or may not be the correct term - I'm not sure.
This may or may not be the only relevant rule - I'm not sure.

Regarding customs, if I were in your shoes, I'd buy a cheaper car so I could use some of that $50k to consult a lawyer for advice.
I'd keep additional money on hand in case you need to hire that lawyer to represent you.

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