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Tax guidelines and regulations for large money transfers into US

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Failing to file could land you in hot water with the IRS.

If you’re planning to transfer more than $10,000 from overseas, a money transfer service can help you save on fees — but you still need to report the transfer to the US government.

Do I have to report large transfers into the US?

No matter where you’re from, if you’re receiving more than $10,000, you’ll need to abide by US laws put in place to both protect your money and protect the interests of the government.

By law, banks report all cash transactions that exceed $10,000 — and any transaction of any amount that alerts their suspicions. Money transfer businesses, which often solely send money between countries, sometimes have reporting thresholds as low as $1,000.

US law requires banks and money transfer companies to report:

  • Your name and contact information.
  • The name and contact information of the person who sent you the money.
  • If it’s a bank transfer, the financial details of the recipient, including SWIFT code.
  • Your banking details, including your bank account number.
  • The amount you received.
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    Documents specific to sending large amounts into the US

    If you are living in the US and received foreign gifts of money or other property, you’ll need to report it on Form 3520 — Annual Return to Report Transactions with Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts.

    US citizens and residents are required to use Form 3520 for:

    • Gifts or bequests valued at more than $100,000 from a nonresident alien individual or foreign estate.
    • Gifts of $15,601 or more from foreign corporations or foreign partnerships (including from people related to these corporations or partnerships).

    Form 3520 is considered an “information return,” rather than a tax return, because foreign gifts generally are not subject to income tax. However, you are subject to stiff penalties for failing to submit Form 3520 when it is required.

    Who is responsible for filing Form 3520 — me or the person who sent the money?

    As the recipient of the transfer, you are solely responsible for reporting the amount you received during the current tax year with your annual tax filing.

    The penalties for failing to file Form 3520 on time are equal to the greater of $10,000 or the following:

    • 35% of the gross value of the distributions received from a foreign trust.
    • 5% of the gross value of the portion of the amount treated as owned by you.
    • A separate 5% penalty if you fail to furnish correct required information.

    Why is the US government interested in how much I receive?

    Laws are in place to protect you and the government from fraudulent activity. By monitoring transactions in and out of the US, authorities are able to:

    • Protect your sensitive information is key.
    • Lower the risk of illegal and fraudulent transfers.
    • More clearly identify money laundering schemes.
    • Inhibit the ease of sheltering taxes in untraceable offshore accounts.

    Since 9/11, the US government has put even more stringent laws in place. For example, the Patriot Act allows the government to track money more carefully due to terrorism.
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    What should I expect when receiving money from overseas?

    To prevent the US government from delaying or canceling your money transfers into the country, you’ll need to provide proof of a government-issued photo ID — a driver’s license or passport, for example — and proof of your address.

    If you already own an account with the bank or money transfer company, you may not need to provide ID each time you receive money. However, online money transfers may have stricter rules when it comes to proof of ID and could ask for additional documentation or to verify your identity by phone.

    What other steps should I take to avoid legal or tax problems?

    To avoid the severe penalties that come with a failure to report large sums of money into the country, speak with a professional to guarantee that everything is above board and complies with the laws of all countries involved.
    Sending a lot out of the country? Know what the IRS expects of you

    Questions you’ve had about large transfers

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    Ask an Expert

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    16 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      PhilMarch 4, 2019

      I have earned about $50,000 last year and that’s how it shows in my tax income filled. I want to bring from another country the amount of $50,000 to buy a house. Is that going to interfere in my tax income or I will pay the tax right on time of receiving that money? I don’t want to overpay taxes on my tax income next year. Thanks.

      • finder Customer Care
        johnbasanesMarch 5, 2019Staff

        Hi Phil,

        Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

        Since you have already reported the $50,000 you received last year. You just need to report the next amount of $50,000 which you plan on receiving this year. As the recipient of the transfer, you are solely responsible for reporting the amount you received during the current tax year with your annual tax filing.

        The penalties for failing to file Form 3520 on time are equal to the greater of $10,000 or the following:

        35% of the gross value of the distributions received from a foreign trust.
        5% of the gross value of the portion of the amount treated as owned by you.
        A separate 5% penalty if you fail to furnish correct required information.

        Please see the assistance on a tax expert on advise needed when filing this. Hope this helps!

        Cheers,
        Reggie

    2. Default Gravatar
      JojoJanuary 29, 2019

      Hi, I’ve read that to avoid hassle with IRS is not receiving money more than $10000. So is it possible to receive money monthly, let say in the amount of $9900? is that still legal? Does the limit $10000 is for every transfer or weekly/monthly/yearly?

      • finder Customer Care
        JoshuaJanuary 30, 2019Staff

        Hi Jojo,

        Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

        There’s really no straightforward answer to your question. The government has its own way of identifying suspicious financial activities. For example, if you are receiving or sending money less than $10,000 in a short span of time, that may attract their attention. Moreover, having multiple accounts, frequent deposits or withdrawals with no apparent business transactions, accounts with a high volume of activity but with a low balance, and others, could catch the authority’s attention and that may mean.

        So, be careful with how you send or receive money and be sure that you don’t break any law. You might want to get in touch with the IRS to confirm and be sure that you are abiding by their rules.

        I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

        Have a wonderful day!

        Cheers,
        Joshua

    3. Default Gravatar
      GenevieveJanuary 28, 2019

      May one person receive $10,000.00 from 2 different donors (this would make a total of $20,000.00 BUT 2 different sources)

      • finder Customer Care
        johnbasanesJanuary 29, 2019Staff

        Hi Genevieve,

        Thank you for reaching out to finder.

        Though this is 2 separate transactions of $10,000, the IRS may still see this as a suspicious transaction. If the IRS even suspects you’re guilty of restructuring, it can take your cash. So prior to the transaction being made, it is still best to contact the IRS directly to know what forms are to be filled out. Hope this helps!

        Cheers,
        Reggie

    4. Default Gravatar
      NalaJanuary 4, 2019

      Can I receive money about $100.00 as a present for my daughter by the mail from overseas? Thank you.

      • finder Customer Care
        AshJanuary 4, 2019Staff

        Hi Nala,

        Thank you for reaching out to us.

        Yes, you may receive a gift of $100 for your daughter and you need not to advise IRS as it doesn’t exceed $10,000.

        I hope this helps.

        Please do not hesitate to reach out again if you have additional questions.

        Cheers,
        Ash

    5. Default Gravatar
      SunnyDecember 7, 2018

      Hello, I am from US and I would like to send money to a friend in Poland, about $5000… will he have to pay taxes on the money he receives because I will be paying taxes on my end.

      • finder Customer Care
        nikkiangcoDecember 11, 2018Staff

        Hi Sunny,

        Thanks for getting in touch! We are not certain if and how much Poland charges for international money transfers. Best thing to do is for your recipient to ask a bank or the money transfer services you’re going to use to do the transfer for money transfer limits. This way there are no big surprises on both sides. Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

        Best,
        Nikki

    6. Default Gravatar
      MadieApril 2, 2018

      What is the max or threshold of transfer to avoid tax implications?

      • finder Customer Care
        JoshuaApril 2, 2018Staff

        Hi madie,

        Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

        There’s no straightforward answer to your question.

        For one, foreign gifts generally are not subject to income tax. However, you still need to report it on Form 3520.

        Next, you need to get familiar with the tax laws of the country where your money came from to know more about the tax implications.

        Finally, you must know the source of funds as it will also affect the tax you need to pay.

        Please be advised that while every effort is made to provide an accurate answer, we are not tax experts and we don’t provide tax advice, and you should always consult a tax professional about your unique circumstances.

        I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

        Have a wonderful day!

        Cheers,
        Joshua

    7. Default Gravatar
      SkyApril 2, 2018

      Hi. When my foreign customer buys my product. And then wants to send me money in USA. What are the steps in accepting foreign cash.

      • finder Customer Care
        JoshuaApril 2, 2018Staff

        Hi Sky,

        Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

        The answer to your question depends on the amount of money you are sending and the mode of transfer you are going to use. Thus, I can’t really provide specific answers. However, the following are still applicable.

        First of all, like what our article on this page mentioned, if you’re receiving more than $10,000, you’ll need to abide by US laws put in place to both protect your money and protect the interests of the government.

        Next, choose the mode of money transfer. You can do that through bank to bank transfer or by using any of the money transfer service provider mentioned on this page.

        I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

        Have a wonderful day!

        Cheers,
        Joshua

    8. Default Gravatar
      robertMarch 14, 2018

      Do you have to pay tariff when you’re getting getting money from overseas Kenya

      • finder Customer Care
        JoshuaMarch 21, 2018Staff

        Hi Robert,

        Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

        Tariffs are generally charged when you importing or exporting goods and products. In this case, money isn’t a form of goods and thus, not subject to tariffs.

        However, you still need to pay other transaction fees pertaining to your money transfer. These fees depend on the money transfer agency you use.

        Of course, please note that I am no tax expert and you still need to directly get in touch with the local authority to confirm.

        I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

        Have a wonderful day!

        Cheers,
        Joshua

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    TransferWise

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    CurrencyTransfer

    Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
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