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The Cash Transactions Ban Bill

Did anyone know about the current consultation on the Bill to ban Cash Transactions greater than $10,000. If you want to pay an amount greater than that in cash you must do it either by Cheque or by Bank transfer. As many no longer accept personal Cheques this would mean a Bank Cheque. Too much interference by Govt I say, but some others disagree including Scott Morrison our PM.

Is CHOICE making a submission about this draft Law @AlanKirkland, @BrendanMays, @ajohnson?

Some views on the current draft:

https://www.adamseconomics.com/post/cash-transaction-ban-consultation-submission-john-adams

https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/BudgetReview201819/Blackeconomymeasureslimits

https://www.digitaltransactions.net/cash-proves-resilient-even-as-regulation-to-ban-cashless-stores-builds-steam/

Submissions end date is 12 August…not much time at all, you wouldn’t think they were in a hurry would you??? 14 days to submit one to the Govt…

From the Treasury one:

" Date 26 July 2019 - 12 August 2019
Consultation Type Draft Legislation
…//…
In the 2018-19 Budget, the Government announced it would introduce an economy-wide cash payment limit of $10,000 for payments made or accepted by businesses for goods and services. Transactions equal to, or in excess of this amount would need to be made using the electronic payment system or by cheque. The Black Economy Taskforce recommended this action to tackle tax evasion and other criminal activities.

The Government has today released for public consultation exposure draft legislation and accompanying explanatory material to implement the economy-wide cash payment limit from 1 January 2020 and for certain AUSTRAC reporting entities from 1 January 2021.

Submissions to the consultation are open until Monday 12 August 2019.

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Wow, great timing @grahroll - we just announced a new section to the forum for just this purpose. I’ll check in with our campaigns team and see if there are any plans to make a submission. Thoughts on the issue in general are welcome.

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The US led attack on tax evasion, money laundering, and hiding off-shore assets is part of the origins.

The $10,000 amount is also the threshold for international wire transfers having to be reported. It has been a l.o.n.g time since I have seen anyone without an ulterior motive try to trade in, let alone keep that amount of cash.

When I read about it a while back my first response was that it was a bit over the top, but in a practical sense no more than a meh.

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Offshore Tax evasion…Hmmm who does that around the top end of town… As Albo said in all his time in parliament he has never seen corruption.

Seriously I have paid in cash for things that cost more than $10K from major businesses and invoiced officially but because it was cash got a great deal or more. Cash is legal tender and if I wish to use it I should have that right to do so no matter the amount. At what point do we protest? When they reduce it to $5K or $2K or $1K or less…as they say the thin edge of the wedge.

In John Adams submission he raises what I think are very valid points re choice:

"The proposed laws would punish individual Australians as to how they wish to spend their private wealth, including whether:

  • they wish to conduct transactions independent of Australia’s commercial banking system; and
  • they wish to conduct their economic affairs in private.

Moreover, the proposed laws are anti-competitive in nature given that cash transactions (irrespective if they include physical or digital forms of currency) are an alternative to using Australia’s commercial banking sector."

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Try using too many small denomination coins at the grocery or servo. We have long been restricted and the concept of cash has been under attack for the benefit of treasury and businesses who find it too cumbersome and too opaque.

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Is this another instance of a law or regulation that is only ever going to be effective capturing honest crooks?

If a buyer is going to pay cash and a seller accept it, for a dodgy transaction, it is dodgy now. The transaction is not declared, or visible. Nothing changes on that count.

The rest of us are as is pointed out the only victims.

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No offence intended, but that line of argument resembles the American gun lobby.

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Only a couple of weeks ago, on a weekend, I was part of a “consortium” raising enough cash, via ATM’s & several bank accounts, to pay for a secondhand car in a private sale (as distinct from an auto dealer). The seller wasn’t prepared to trust an internet bank transfer, so $11,500 in cold hard readies had to be found quickly…
For what it’s worth, this is an example of a legitimate cash transaction, over $10K. I resent this proposed level of interference, & am deeply suspicious of the short cut off date for submissions.
The wealthy, both ‘legal’ and illegal, can afford to pay for smokescreens to hide their money dealings: this proposal won’t affect them: using a sledgehammer to crack a nut!

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No offence if the transaction is lawful and tax compliant!:wink:

Agreed there is an issue with the cash, and indeed barter economies potentially evading tax obligations or cleaning dodgy income streams. And there is a recognised concern that the total value of Australian notes in circulation far exceeds what most of us would keep under the pillow at night.

Whether the proposed legislation provides an effective solution, it would appear the Government is determined to proceed?

Is it inconvenient or an unreasonable impost?
I’d need to change how I perform one or two occasional transactions. They can always be split, which is also an option for those who have reason to avoid closer scrutiny.

P.S.
Around here cash is often used for payment. I only do so for small values, with supporting invoices/receipts. I also tend to avoid mention of the gun lobby. Some say the volcanic plugs of the Glass House Mountains have mind altering powers. I can still faintly hear the banjos over the gun fire echoing off the pine trees.

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That is usually called a charade to make believe there was anything more than a ‘we will do this’ in motion. We all know this yet governments continually pretend in the name of democratic processes. Pretty insulting consultation, using the term loosely, as I see it. Same happened with the ‘link’ highway connection in Melbourne. Although there was only one obvious workable outcome off they went and decided on the obvious workable outcome, that was not more reasonable than some only slightly less workable alternatives.

I hope the vehicle history bona fides were checked and no liens on it. Assuming this $10K cash restriction was in effect the seller would not have been able to demand cash, which is another aspect. Of course the customer could pony up multiple payments each well under $10,000 but would one, the other, or both parties be charged if discovered?

I repeat it seems like a meh in practice but we can usually depend on government to make the meh into an over the top poorly thought out piece of legislation with disproportionate penalties using glib definitions of what it takes to be in violation.

Of course. Most financial issues are prosecuted by discretion to assure the proper voters and donors are not inconvenienced by the wrist slaps while those who traditionally work in cash or on the wrong side of politics are nailed as high as can be done. At least that is the probability.

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The text above suggests that the restriction only applies to businesses. So if a car were sold privately the restriction might not apply, or perhaps the text above is not accurate. (The government need not be too concerned about such a transaction because all car transfers are registered with the government anyway.)

What about cryptocurrencies then? Does the proposed legislation clarify the position?

Overall I don’t think the change will affect many people in practice. There’s no way I would be comfortable carrying around $10,000 in cash anyway.

It is however a creeping extension of the surveillance state.

If the government cared (Hint: they don’t) then in conjunction with this change, they should legislate additional privacy measures regarding how businesses that are involved in the payment system can use transaction data for marketing etc. purposes.

Rubbish. At a limit of $10,000 there are still many opportunities for a tradie to suggest discount-for-cash. When was the last time anyone had a tradie over to do a job and the bill came to $10,000?

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I have found over the past few years, at least locally, there has been less and less of that excepting for the most modest of jobs, say a few $100s at most. As one explained it, a bit of pocket change is no worry but if he accrued enough and deposited it or paid cash for a new truck he might expect a please explain letter from the ATO. Simplified to the max, but I am sure you know the intent.

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Hands over $50K in cash.
‘This is now an illegal transaction!’
‘Is it? Good heavens!’

And the nuts will largely remain uncracked. To quote Sir Humphrey:
“Something must be done, this is something, therefore we must do it.”
The line following that one is worth remembering.

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I would bring to your attention though that it is a criminal offence to structure a transaction with the “sole or dominant purpose” of avoiding the threshold. That is as it applies to the existing Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (refer Section 142). I would expect something similar to apply to this new legislation.

People may be right though that it will only catch the honest criminal.

As an example of splitting that might be within the (new future) law … you waltz into The Good Guys to buy a Samsung 82" QLED 8K UHD TV, purchase price $14,995. Cough.

You can’t “Pay Less, Pay Cash” under this new law (I know that The Good Guys scrapped that promotion a few years ago).

However let’s say they don’t have the TV in stock and are going to have to order it in. So they ask you to pay a deposit. You pay a $5,000 deposit in cash. Some weeks later the TV comes in and you pay the balance of $9,995 in cash. (I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. Caveat emptor.)

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Just an update for you, I’ve heard from our campaigns team that we won’t be seeking to prepare a submission for this issue as it’s getting into criminal law territory, which isn’t something we specialise in. However, the discussion here has been interesting so far and we welcome everyone to continue sharing their thoughts.

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While I understand a reluctance to pursue Criminal matters of Law, the lawful consumer is also affected by changes that impact their shopping habits and this may have been a place for CHOICE to look towards making some comments about the effect on those lawfullly wishing to use large sums of cash as in the car example above or when we purchased a lot of household goods for cash after the floods with rather significant discounts for that cash. I don’t think a submission has to cover all facets but putting a view about protections for lawful purchases and the choice of such users to use such sums may have given some light to those matters that the pollies may have overlooked. Also the matter of privacy for both a purchaser and a buyer when they negotiate a deal and keep that out of the eyes of the Banks and other financial businesses who garner too much data sometimes about clients purchasing habits.

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It goes further than international wire tranfers…

https://www.austrac.gov.au/business/how-comply-guidance-and-resources/reporting/cash-transactions-over-10000-ttr

Any transaction (unless exempt) with a value of AUD10k is reportable to Austrac.

$10k is also the maximum allowed to be carried into/out of Australia when travelling and not requiring declaration.

I wonder how many transaction $10k+ one pays in cash regularly. I haven’t every paid or carried anything near $10k and are unlikely to do so in the cashless economy age. Any larger amounts over $10k, I have only ever used non hard cash options…even when cash was preferred by the payee.

While I can see some might have an exception, like that outlined by @evanstrish3, I suspect these are not the norm and could be exempted if say the total above $10k is withdrawn in one transaction and the payee details are provided as part of the withdrawal.

If someone asks for cash and refused other payment methods (bank transfer, debit/credit card, bank cheque, PayPal etc), no matter how small, I automatically get suspicious and I proceed with caution.

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If meeting face to face to complete a Gumtree, ebay, … transaction, cash makes a lot of sense.

If doing a bank transfer then inevitably one party has to trust the other i.e. if purchaser pays up first then seller can fail to make the rendezvous, never to be heard from again - and if purchaser pays afterwards then purchaser can make the rendezvous and take the goods, never to be heard from again. Cash also allows an on the spot assessment of whether the goods are ‘as described’.

(Doing and confirming internet banking on the spot, is inherently messy and time consuming, maybe even a bit risky, and doesn’t work at all at the moment i.e. until such time as bank transfers are near instantaneous.)

Credit card is typically not an option. Bank cheque imposes too high a financial overhead for small purchases.

But your average Gumtree, ebay, … transaction doesn’t come close to $10k, so not affected by this new law.

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Osko payments are not yet supported by all banks, but I use them with mine. Near enough to instant, ie within 5 seconds in my experience.

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I’d be wary of carrying a large sum of cash lest the vendor be waiting to hit me with a cosh :worried:

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