Recently, more than a few clients had called me regarding the seizure of money by Customs at the airport and I figured I would share the information with my readers.
Can U.S. Customs seize your money at the airport?
Yes, if one failed to properly report all cash and cash equivalents transported into or out of the country. See Currency and Foreign Transaction Reporting Act (31 U.S.C. 5311, et seq.)
When do I have to declare my money to Customs?
Most people are uninformed of the reporting requirement however, "If you transport, attempt to transport, or cause to be transported (including by mail or other means) currrency or other monetary instruments in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000 or its foreign equivalent) at one time from the United States to any foreign country, or into the United States from any foreign country, you must file a report with U.S. Customs and Border Protection." Currency Reporting
In other words: More than $10,000 you must declare whether entering or leaving the U.S.
What is the required form one has to fill out prior to transporting more than $10,000?
FINCEN Form 105
Does it cost anything to declare one's money over $10,000 to Customs?
What happens if you do not declare your money over $10,000?
If Customs catches you, the money will most likely be taken from you. Thereafter, one will receive a seizure notice to which it is highly recommended to seek advice from an attorney experienced in these matters.
What is the reason for the government seizing the money under these circumstances?
In a nut shell the government believes that you are trying to evade paying taxes by transporting the currency without reporting it.
Happy Importing :)