The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on Wednesday issued a proposal to mandate that almost all FinCEN reports required under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) be filed electronically as of June 30, 2012. Currently, about 85% of FinCEN reports are filed electronically through its free BSA E-Filing system .
FinCEN expanded the system in August to support individuals filing Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) (see “FinCEN Creates FBAR E-Filing System”). Those reports would be included in the e-filing mandate. The proposal’s one exception from the mandate would be FinCEN Form 105, Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments (CMIR), which is most often completed by individuals upon crossing the border into the United States.
Comments on the proposal are due 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register.
“The benefits of e-filing, both to the government and to the filer, are obvious and compelling,” FinCEN Director James Freis said in a press release. “As more financial institutions migrate to e-filing, they will be impressed with the ease and convenience of using their basic Internet connections, while gaining immediate feedback to continually improve the quality and usefulness of the reported information in the effort to combat financial crimes.”
The proposal says the requirement will significantly enhance the quality of the agency’s electronic data, improve its analytic capabilities in supporting law enforcement and significantly reduce real costs to the U.S. government and taxpayers. FinCEN said that e-filing allows it to provide information on money laundering and terrorist financing investigations to law enforcement in a searchable format in two days, rather than two weeks, for example, if filed on paper.
FinCEN has provided technical specifications to assist programmers in preparing their systems to e-file future large-batch filings of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), as part of its overall technology improvement efforts and its development of new universal reports. FinCEN said its new SAR and CTR reports, which are expected to be available this winter, will replace all previous industry-specific forms.
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