Generally, insurance companies will only be required to file Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business, to report cash received as payment for insurance products if the cash received is in the form of currency (U.S. and foreign coin and paper money) in excess of $10,000. The exception is when the insurance company receives certain monetary instruments, as explained below, and the insurance company knows that the instrument is being used in the transaction to avoid having to file Form 8300.
For transactions in which the recipient knows that a monetary instrument(s) is being used in an attempt to avoid the filing of Form 8300, or for designated reporting transactions, the definition of cash for Form 8300 reporting purposes would also include the following monetary instruments when they aggregate to greater than $10,000 within a 12-month time period (not calendar year):
- Cashier’s check having a face amount of $10,000 or less
- Money order having a face amount of $10,000 or less
- Bank draft having a face amount of $10,000 or less
- Traveler’s check having a face amount of $10,000 or less.
Personal checks, in any amount, are not treated as cash for Form 8300 reporting purposes. A cashier’s check, money order, bank draft, or traveler’s check is not treated as cash for Form 8300 reporting purposes if the face amount is in excess of $10,000.
The sale of insurance policies, annuity contracts, or similar products offered by insurance companies is not a designated reporting transaction. However, if the insurance company knows that cash equivalents (that is, cashier’s checks, money orders, traveler’s checks and bank drafts all having a face amount of $10,000 or less), or cash equivalents in combination with cash, are being used in an attempt to avoid the filing of Form 8300 which would be required if the payment was entirely in the form of currency, then the insurance company is required to file Form 8300.
For example, an insurance company receives $11,000 in hundred dollar bills as payment for an annuity contract. This transaction would be reported on Form 8300. If a customer paid $10,000 in currency and gave a money order for $1,000 as payment for an insurance policy, and the insurance company knew that the payment was being made in this fashion to avoid the filing of Form 8300, then a Form 8300 must be filed even though the transaction is not a designated reporting transaction.
As stated above, the term designated reporting transaction does not apply to the sale of insurance policies, annuity contracts or similar products offered by insurance companies. The term generally applies to a retail sale of a consumer durable, a collectible or a travel or entertainment activity. An example of a designated reporting transaction is the receipt of $2,000 in hundred dollar bills and a cashier’s check for $9,000 ($11,000 total) for the purchase of an automobile. This transaction would be reported on Form 8300. See the instructions for Form 8300 for more information. Also, see the definitions in Treas. Reg. § 1.6050I-1(c).
In summary, if an insurance company does not accept cash, but accepts cash equivalents; generally it is not necessary to file Form 8300 on payments for insurance policies and annuity contracts. An exception would be if the insurance company knew (not just suspected) that the monetary instrument(s) was used in an attempt to avoid the filing of Form 8300 by the insurance company.
Although Form 8300 can be filed voluntarily (for transactions that do not exceed $10,000) to report suspicious transactions, it is not a Suspicious Activity Report for Bank Secrecy Act reporting purposes. Suspicious Activity Reports are required under Section 5318(g) of Title 31. Section 5331 establishes Form 8300 reporting requirement under Title 31.
An insurance company is not precluded from also checking the suspicious transaction box, as appropriate, when filing Form 8300; however, checking the box on Form 8300 is not required, and in any event will not satisfy the insurance company’s obligation to file a Suspicious Activity Report. If the transaction is suspicious, the insurance company must comply with the requirements of 31 CFR 1025.320 and file a Suspicious Activity Report, as appropriate, whether or not a Form 8300 report is required.
You are strongly encouraged to submit Form 8300 electronically via the BSA E-Filing System. E-filing is a free, web-based electronic filing system that allows businesses to submit their FinCEN reports through a secure network. Compared with the traditional paper filing process, businesses find e-filing to be a faster and more convenient, secure, and cost-effective method of submitting their reports, as well as for receiving confirmation of filing. Please visit the BSA E-Filing site for more information.
You can also obtain copies of IRS/FinCEN Form 8300 by:
- Calling the IRS forms line at 800-829-3676
- Downloading Form 8300 in English (PDF) or Spanish (PDF)
- Visiting the FinCEN website
Publication 1544, Reporting Cash Payments of Over $10,000 (Received in a Trade or Business), explains key issues and terms related to Form 8300. You can order this publication by:
- Calling the IRS forms line at 800-829-3676 or
- Downloading Publication 1544 in English (PDF) or Spanish (PDF)
You can send questions regarding Form 8300 to 8300QUESTIONS@IRS.GOV.