How Much Can a Business Deposit Before It Is Reported?

What you need to know about cash deposits for your small business

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Every business owner dreams of large cash deposits, but there are rules to follow when it comes to reporting them. For cash deposits of $10,000 or more, you must report the transaction to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This is crucial for small business owners to remember to avoid associated penalties and fines.

You’ll want to know which form to file, as well as the situations that require you to disclose bank deposits. We’ll walk you through how much cash you can deposit before it must be reported, the types of transactions, and the law from which these rules stem.

Key Takeaways

  • Business owners who receive more than $10,000 cash in one or more related transactions must file IRS Form 8300.
  • Banks are required to report any cash deposits over $10,000 to help the federal government create a traceable money trail that can be used to detect criminal activities.
  • When you file Form 8300, you provide the IRS and FinCEN with tangible records of large cash transactions.
  • Owners must report large deposits within 15 days of the transaction.

How Much Money Can You Deposit Before It Is Reported?

Banks and financial institutions must report any cash deposit exceeding $10,000 to the IRS, and they must do it within 15 days of receipt. Of course, it’s not as cut and dried as simply having to report one large lump sum of money.

Making multiple, smaller deposits that equal $10,000 or more will also be flagged and reported. For example, if you were to deposit $2,000 each day over the course of a week, the bank would report the deposits for suspicious activity once they exceed the $10,000 level.

Another scenario would be depositing cash across several banks. Let’s say you deposit $6,000 into one account, then make two separate cash transactions of $3,000 each at different banks; this could potentially trigger the bank to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with the federal government.

Note

This rule does not apply only to cash deposits. The IRS includes cashier’s checks, bank drafts, traveler’s checks, and money orders over $10,000 as needing to be reported by the financial institution that draws the funds.

What Is the Bank Secrecy Act?

The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), also known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act of 1970, is a law that requires U.S. financial institutions to help monitor and intercept money laundering. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is responsible for enforcing compliance with the BSA, alongside the IRS.

The BSA requires all cash payments over $10,000 to be reported on Form 8300. As mentioned, the law defines “cash” as including several monetary instruments, such as money orders, cashier’s checks, and bank drafts. Banks need to report your activity anytime you have one deposit exceeding $10,000, or two or more related deposits that cross that threshold.

Small business owners need to pay particular attention to the last caveat regarding multiple related deposits. If you decide to break up your large deposits, it could be viewed as “structuring”—the illegal practice of spreading out deposits to avoid reporting funds to the IRS.

Banks will report you to the IRS once deposits reach the $10,000 mark, whether via commercial or personal banking. If you conduct a lot of your business in cash, you will want to pay extra attention to the amounts and frequency of your deposits to ensure you are complying with the law.

Do You Need To Report Large Deposits?

You absolutely need to report large deposits to the IRS, as the responsibility falls to the business owner. Whenever you receive $10,000 or more from a client or buyer, Form 8300 will come into play. Some examples of when to report include:

  • One lump sum of $10,000 or more
  • Two or more transactions in the same day related to the same activity
  • Multiple payments related to the same transaction within 12 months

Keeping these scenarios in mind will safeguard your business from fines and penalties.

Filing a Form 8300

Business owners need to file Form 8300, “Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 in a Trade or Business,” whenever you receive more than $10,000 in cash from one or more related transactions.

Note

The law governing the requirement to file Form 8300 applies to individuals, companies, corporations, partnerships, associations, trusts, and estates.

You’ll also want to keep in mind the time period in which you file the form; the BSA requires you to file Form 8300 within 15 days of completion of the cash transaction. This means that if you received $2,000 over the span of five weeks from a customer, you want to report the transaction within two weeks and a day of the last payment. If you get a lump sum of $10,000, file your form by the 15th day after receipt.

The form is free to file online using the BSA E-Filing System provided by FinCEN. It is also possible to file by mail, sending the form to the following address:

Detroit Federal Building

P.O. Box 32621

Detroit, Michigan 48232

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can the IRS freeze my account if I make a large cash deposit?

While the IRS can freeze your account for suspicious activity related to any amount, remaining in compliance and filing Form 8300 for large deposits will help prevent your account from getting frozen.

How much can I deposit before it is reported to the IRS?

Business owners can deposit any amount less than $10,000 before having to report the deposit to the IRS. Once you go over $10,000, it must be reported.

How does Form 8300 affect my small business?

Form 8300 is free, so business owners do not have to worry about any out-of-pocket costs to file it. The form affects your small business by requiring reporting of any cash payments of $10,000 or more, which may entail some administrative time.

Do I need to file Form 8300 when I receive a cash deposit on the sale of a property?

Yes. You will need to file a Form 8300 when receiving a cash deposit on the sale of real property. The IRS includes sale of real and intangible property under the requirements of the law.

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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. IRS. “Part 4. Examining Process - Chapter 26. Bank Secrecy Act - Section 13. Structuring.”

  2. AlleviateTax. “The IRS Form 8300 and How It Works.”

  3. IRS. “IRS Form 8300 Reference Guide.”

  4. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. “FinCEN's Mandate From Congress.”

  5. IRS. “Form 8300 and Reporting Cash Payments of Over $10,000.”

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