Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill introduced

The Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill has been introduced into the House of Representatives.

UPDATE December 2020: Bill not proceeding.

This Bill introduces offences for entities that make or accept cash payments or series of payments of $10,000 or more.

Entity includes, among other things, individuals, bodies corporate, bodies politic, trusts and partnerships

Cash is defined as physical and digital currency within the meaning of the AML/CTF Act.

Payment is used in its broadest sense encompassing any transfer of financial value. It is not limited to payments that are payments ‘for’ something and includes gifts and loans. Examples of payments include the provision of wages and a donation to a charity.

The offences are committed regardless of whether the entity intended to or was reckless about whether the payment or series of payments included such an amount of cash.

However, the offence does not apply if the payment is either of a kind specified in the rules made under the Bill or made or accepted in circumstances of a kind specified in the rules. Discussed here.

The cash payment limit applies to payments made or received from 1 January 2020.

The maximum penalty for an individual is a fine of 60 penalty units (currently $12,600). The maximum penalty for a body corporate would be 300 penalty units (currently $63,000).

Nothing in the Bill makes it an offence to be in possession of cash of any amount.

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