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Structuring - SARs as an Inexact Forfeiture Tool: The Offense of Structuring

** This is the fifth blog entry in a series - All You Need to Know about the Government & Asset Forfeiture**

More surprising is the basis often used for these takings. Structuring, an offense rarely pursued for criminal prosecution is an activity that has become a boon for the United States coffer.

Structuring is a criminal offense where individuals seek to avoid bank currency reporting requirements by breaking up large sums of cash into smaller sums for deposit or withdrawal. As the government requires a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) for every cash transaction in excess of $10,000, reducing large sums of cash into smaller amounts for deposit or withdrawal allows individuals to conduct transactions that are not reported to the Treasury.

To be sure, structuring is a technique that helps individuals hide illicit proceeds of criminal activity. However, the legal definition for structuring does not differentiate between deposit activity that promotes criminal activity and efforts for citizens to keep their financial affairs private. Make no mistake; it is just as illegal to structure cash deposits of legitimately earned money as it is to do so to launder illegal proceeds. This means that persons who do not wish to volunteer their everyday deposit activity to the IRS are proscribed from arranging their transaction activity to avoid $10,000 cash transactions. In other words, besides the many duties imposed by traditional tax reporting, estimated tax payments, statements of income and sales tax reporting, citizens and entrepreneurs must also ensure that their deposits are conducted in a way that CTRs are filed. 

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