Law enforcement financial investigations will be aided by a long sought provision in legislation recently signed by President Clinton. The Taxpayers Bill of Rights, HR 2337, contains a provision which will now allow federal, state, local, and foreign government agencies access to information contained in IRS Form 8300 (Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business).
As the name implies, any person engaged in a non-financial trade or business who receives more than $10,000 in cash payments in a single transaction or series of related transactions is required to file a Form 8300 with the Internal Revenue Service. The form is extremely useful for identifying large and suspicious currency transactions that occur in the retail sector of the economy. In 1995, more than 130,000 Form 8300s were filed with IRS.
In earlier years, Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) was able to provide information from these reports as part of its analytical support to law enforcement agencies investigating money laundering cases and other financial crimes. Unfortunately, the authority for law enforcement (other than IRS agents) to have access to information from the form expired in November 1992.
"Recognizing the potential value of this data to anti-money laundering enforcement efforts, we have been working, in concert with federal and state law enforcement, for nearly four years to gain renewed access to Form 8300s," said Stanley E. Morris, Director of FinCEN. "With the passage of HR 2337, we will now be able to make this highly useful information available as part of our support to both federal and state law enforcement."
FinCEN soon expects to be granted authority to provide information from Form 8300 directly on-line to state law enforcement through its Project Gateway. Through its analytical support, FinCEN would also provide Form 8300 information quickly and easily to federal law enforcement agencies which do not have direct access through their own databases. Last year,
FinCEN's analysts provided case support to more than 150 federal, state, and local agencies, issuing more than 8,000 intelligence reports.
"Using advanced technology and a variety of data sources, FinCEN links together various elements of the crime, helping law enforcement agencies find the missing pieces to the criminal puzzles," said Morris. "Information from Form 8300 gives us crucial pieces to the puzzle which will help law enforcement track criminals and their financial dealings."
Updated November 21, 1996