FinCEN Form 105 FAQ

Currency Seizure

We get a lot of inquiries from travelers who were requested by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to complete and sign the FinCEN Form 105, so we thought it would be helpful to post a short Frequently Asked Questions page about Form 105. Please note the information can change at anytime so it’s best to always check the official Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.

What is FinCEN Form 105?
FinCEN Form 105 is a form you must complete to report that you are carrying more than $10,000 in currency while entering or leaving the US.

What is considered currency?
The FINCEN definition of currency: The coin and paper money of the United States or any other country that is (1) designated as legal tender and that (2) circulates and (3) is customarily accepted as a medium of exchange in the country of issuance.

Do I only report coin and paper money?
CBP says all travelers are required to report “negotiable monetary instruments” which includes currency or endorsed checks valued more than $10,000.

What are “negotiable instruments”?
-Coin or currency from US or other countries;
-Gold coins (excludes gold bullion);
-Travelers checks;
-Checks;
-Promissory notes;
-Money orders;
-Checks or money orders made out to someone else;
-Checks or money orders endorsed without restriction (for deposit only);
-Incomplete checks that are signed even if the “To” line is blank
-Securities or stocks in bearer form

What if I fail to declare currency in amounts more than $10,000?
Customs will seize the currency. The seizure process at the airport takes time and you will be delayed and/or miss a connecting flight.

I’m a foreign visitor to the US, do I still have to fill out a FinCEN Form 105?
Yes, anyone entering or leaving the US is required to report their currency.

What if I have a layover in the US on my way to another country, do I still have to fill out a FinCEN Form 105?
Yes, a layover in-transit to a foreign country at a US airport is still considered entering the US.

If I report the currency, is there a duty on the amount I report?
No, CBP does not collect duty on any currency.

What does the form look like?
The most recent version of Form 105 (July 2017) can be found here:
https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/fin105_cmir.pdf

Is the form available in other languages?
Unfortunately the form is only available in English. If you need the FinCEN form translated in Chinese, I can help out.

My currency was seized, what should I do?
Contact me soon as there are time requirements on getting your seized currency returned to you.

I have more questions, can I contact you?
Feel free to email me at dhsu@givensjohnston.com or 832.896.6288.

 

CBP fines wholesaler (and not importer) $1 million under the False Claims for failing to act in response to indications of fraudulent resulting in underpayment of customs duties.

Garments

On October 3, 2017, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced a settlement of civil fraud claims brought under the False Claims Act against a garment wholesaler in Pennsylvania for ignorning repeated warning signs that its importer business partner was engaged in a scheme to underpay customs duties on imported garments from China sold to the wholesaler.

From the press release (full text here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/acting-manhattan-us-attorney-announces-settlement-civil-fraud-claims-against-garment)

U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As this settlement makes evident, companies purchasing imported goods cannot turn a blind eye to fraud committed by their business partners. We will be vigilant in holding accountable all parties who engage in or contribute to fraudulent conduct.”

According to the press release, the wholesaler should have known that discounts of 75% or more for imported garments by the importer were highly suggestive of fraud. In addition to paying $1 million in damages, the wholesaler was also required to implement a written compliance policy to educate employees and identify red flags in fraud in import transactions.

This case is just the latest example of a US company being fined by Customs in this kind of transaction. Any US buyer in this situation should consult with experienced Customs attorneys to vet their transactions and evaluate their own compliance programs.

What happens after a Customs currency seizure?

Currency Seizure 02

In my blog post yesterday, I discussed what happens after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“Customs”) seizure of items and merchandise. Today’s post is along the same line but will focus instead on currency (cash) seizures by Customs.

Most of our clients report seizures of currency and cash while they are either entering or exiting an airport or at a border crossing. At the time of seizure, Customs will give you a receipt of the seizure. This is form 6051S and is officially known as the “Custody Receipt for Seized Property and Evidence”. It is important to keep this receipt as it will contain the identification number of your seizure for tracking purposes and is your only proof of the money seizure. If you do receive this form, be sure it is properly filled out and contains how much money was seized, the officer seizing the property, and contact information.

Following the seizure, Customs must send you a CAFRA Notice of Seizure that further details the seizure (why it was seized, date, location seized, and additional facts). You will get the seizure notice in the mail and it will be sent certified mail (you sign the green card, or you will receive a notice to pick up the certified mail letter at your local post office).

Once you receive the notice, you have to respond by 30 days from the date of the notice (not the day you physically receive the notice).

Your response to the seizure notice requires you to complete an “Election of Proceedings” form that will be included with the seizure notice. Customs will not easily return your seized currency and there are many nuances involved – contact me for a free consultation regarding your currency seizure.