The Internal Revenue Service announced agreements last week with 33 states, including Utah, and Puerto Rico to begin sharing Bank Secrecy Act information.
The agreements will allow the IRS and the participating states to share information and leverage resources to ensure that money services businesses are complying with federal and state responsibilities to register with the government and report cash transactions as well as suspicious activities.
The money businesses in question are non-banking institutions that provide certain financial services to customers.
The businesses include currency exchangers, check cashers, issuers of traveler's checks or stored value cards, and money transmitters.
"We already work cooperatively with over 40 states to combat abusive tax shelters," indicated IRS commissioner Mark Everson. "This new agreement will help the federal and state governments leverage resources while attacking illegal money laundering."
The IRS and participating states will share enforcement leads and coordinate efforts to make certain that Bank Secrecy Act examinations on money services without overlapping efforts, pointed out the federal agency.
In addition, the agreements will help the IRS and the states present a united compliance front to money services businesses and the companies' representatives.
"These agreements have ushered in an era of enhanced cooperation. Combining the expertise of the IRS with the supervision and examination of MSBs traditionally performed by state banking departments will produce greater results at lower cost," noted New York banking department superintendent Diana Taylor.
"Just as the IRS is able to leverage the expertise of state financial regulators, our own examination and compliance programs will benefit from access to their critical examination information," continued Taylor
Minnesota's commerce commissioner also voiced support of the agreement.
"The states and the federal government need to share information to track the increasingly sophisticated activities of criminal organizations and others," commented Glenn Wilson."By establishing a method to report and track cash transactions, we will shed light on a currently little watched aspect of commerce."
Along with Utah and Puerto Rico, the states that have signed partnership agreements with the IRS include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Montana cannot enter into the agreements with the IRS because local laws prohibit the action or the states do not regulate the industryy.
The information the IRS and the states may share under the agreements is limited to the Bank Secrecy Act examination, not tax matters, explained the federal agency.
The IRS has separate, long-standing agreements with the states for the exchange of tax information.
Additional information about money services businesses and the Bank Secrecy Act is available on irs.gov or the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Web site at www.fincen.gov.