Is it true you have to file papers with the government in the US to withdraw large sums of cash at your local bank branch? I read somewhere once if it's over $5,000.00 somewhere you have to file papers with the FBI and wait. What if I wanted to withdraw $30,000.00 one day at my local branch, or even $4,000,000.00(where I had millions spread across banks for protection)?

  • 11
    Have you tried calling your bank and asking? What did they say?
    – user27684
    Jun 14, 2017 at 18:51
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    I think reading this answer to a similar question may be helpful for you
    – Nosrac
    Jun 14, 2017 at 19:03
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    Oddly enough I did this today in order to get a cashier's check for the purchase of a car. There was nothing to it, it would have taken the same amount of time if I was getting a cashier's check for $20.
    – Pete B.
    Jun 14, 2017 at 19:52
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    On a related note, in such cases you might need to inform the branch beforehand - in general, banks don't keep very large amounts of cash in branches and for sufficiently large amounts you'd need to schedule that so that they'd drive enough cash there for you.
    – Peteris
    Jun 14, 2017 at 20:19
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    saw this on the Hot Network List and thought someone was checking if there was some truth to a spam email
    – Memor-X
    Jun 15, 2017 at 6:39

2 Answers 2


Is it true you have to file papers with the government in the US to withdraw large sums of cash at your local bank branch?

It's true that a currency transaction report (CTR) gets filed with FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) when you make a cash transaction in excess of $10,000. Banks have systems that do this automatically, so you don't have to really do anything other than provide some tax info if not already on file with the bank.

The teller can flag your CTR if they think the transaction is suspicious, but there shouldn't be a delay on the withdrawal unless the bank has to make arrangements to have enough cash on hand.

Some people don't like the idea of CTR's being filed and therefore make multiple smaller withdrawals, but that can be considered illegal structuring, and can result in confiscated money.

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    Actuallly, banks file the CTR even faster if several small withdrawals are placed. There are automated systems to detect that as part of the money laundering effort. Then there are several other controls after that trigger to verify if it is indeed a money laundering attempt. You should put a source to this "confiscated money" thing, if that is true. The bank will only lock down the account as far as I know, pending a money laundering audit. And that is the extreme case. Jun 14, 2017 at 21:20
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    @Mindwin The extreme case is the government seizing funds: money-education.com/resources/financial-planning-news-and-blogs/…
    – Hart CO
    Jun 14, 2017 at 21:24
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    @HartCO yeah. After the money laundering audit is through, and there is reasonable cause to believe money laundering is at work. disclosure I work at a major global bank. Jun 14, 2017 at 21:29
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    @Mindwin Structuring itself is illegal, you don't have to be laundering money to be guilty of intentionally dodging BSA reporting requirements (like example of farmer in article). Also, money being seized after an audit that you didn't know was happening is still disruptive and their "reasonable cause" turns up plenty of false positives. It's good note for business owners that deal in cash, establish a relationship with a bank so you minimize chances of getting flagged.
    – Hart CO
    Jun 14, 2017 at 21:38
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    If they seize your cash, they may not give it back, even if they are unable to prove you broke any laws.
    – Kevin
    Jun 15, 2017 at 2:30

An international Outlook (in this case Sweden in European Union).

According to laws and regulations large cash transactions are considered conspicuous. The law makers might have reasoned is that cash transactions can be used in as example: - financing terrorism - avoiding taxes - buying or selling illegal goods such as drugs or stolen items - general illegal transactions such as paying bribes

Starting there, all banks (at least in Europe) are required to report all suspicious transactions to the relevant authorities (in Sweden it is Finanspolisen, roughly the Financial Police). This is regardless of how the transactions are performed, in cash or otherwise. In order to monitor this all banks in Sweden are required to "know the customers", as example where does money come from and go to in general. In addition special software monitors all transactions and flags suspicious patterns for further investigation and possibly notification of the police.

So, at least in Sweden: there is no need to get permission from the FBI to withdraw cash. You will however be required to describe the usage of the Money and your description will be kept and possibly sent to the Financial police.

The purpose is not to hinder legitimate transactions, but to Catch illegal activities.

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    But how would they detect if it was to buy a house or car, or to pay off blackmail or a hostage situation? Jun 15, 2017 at 17:24
  • The purpose of it is to tighten the net on tax evasion and the middle class sending money to offshore operations. And also to rob you via a 10/20 year span with a interest near 0 or bellow inflation levels. Officials in the EC have been giving hints to the general public about plans for a decade of that. Jun 15, 2017 at 18:23

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