Implementation of Bank Secrecy Act's Reporting Requirements

Gao ID: 115888 July 23, 1981

GAO reported on its review of the implementation of the Bank Secrecy Act's reporting requirements. The act requires a currency transaction report, report of international transportation of currency or monetary instruments, and a report of foreign bank, securities, and other financial accounts. GAO found that these reports have not been widely used by Federal law enforcement and regulatory investigators, and it is uncertain how well financial institutions and individuals are complying with the reporting requirements. The Department of the Treasury and other responsible agencies have initiated several measures in the last 2 years that should correct many of the problems related to implementation of the Act's reporting requirements, but GAO believes that additional actions are needed for the Act's reporting requirements to achieve their intended purpose. These actions relate to: (1) allocating the staff necessary to carry out the Act; (2) revising data dissemination guidelines; (3) strengthening compliance enforcement and monitoring efforts; and (4) developing the information necessary to make a comprehensive assessment of the costs and benefits of the Act's reporting requirements. GAO believes that the next 2 to 3 years are crucial to demonstrating the contributions that the reporting requirements can make. If the agencies involved cannot demonstrate that the usefulness of the reports justifies the costs, then the Act's reporting requirements should be repealed.

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