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- Financial transaction reporting policy
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This policy sets out AUSTRAC's approved method of reporting for 'cash dealers' as defined under section 3 of the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (FTR Act) and 'reporting entities' as defined under section 5 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act). Cash dealers and reporting entities are collectively referred to hereafter as 'regulated entities'.
This document revises and expands AUSTRAC's 2002 policy declaration relating to the approved methods for cash dealers submitting international funds transfer instruction reports and significant cash transaction reports/threshold transaction reports to AUSTRAC.
Reporting to AUSTRAC electronically delivers significant time and cost savings to regulated entities. The key features of electronic reporting that lead to these savings include:
- improved data quality controls with the submission of electronic information to AUSTRAC reducing the incidence, time and cost of rectifying incorrect or missing information
- improved efficiency through submission of financial transaction reports to AUSTRAC using pre-populated information (fields) and file extraction programs
- improved security through the encrypted transmission of reports and general communication (including sensitive information) from regulated entities to AUSTRAC and vice versa
- provision of up-to-date information through the 'News' page of AUSTRAC Online as well as reflecting the information provided by the regulated entity to AUSTRAC in 'real time' (for example, compliance officer contact details)
- improved administrative/access controls and audit trails for regulated entities
- electronic confirmation that information provided to AUSTRAC has been received.
AUSTRAC is seeking to ensure that a wide range of regulated entities benefit from these advantages.
For the purposes of this policy, the term 'electronic' is taken to mean the process of reporting to AUSTRAC through AUSTRAC Online. Similarly, the term 'technical means' is interpreted to be ready access to a computer and internet connection.
Cash dealers are required to report international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs) and significant cash transactions (SCTRs) to AUSTRAC electronically rather than on paper, where the cash dealer has the technical means to do so and their reporting volumes exceed 50 forms per year (all types aggregated). Suspect transaction reports (SUSTRs) may continue to be reported on paper, although this is not AUSTRAC's preference. These provisions are made under subsections 7(3), 16(3) and 17B(3) of the FTR Act.
Similarly, under Part 3 (Divisions 1, 3 and 4) of the AML/CTF Act, reporting entities are required to report IFTIs and threshold transactions (TTRs) to AUSTRAC electronically where the reporting entity has the technical means to do so and their reporting volumes exceed 50 forms per year (all types aggregated). Reports of suspicious matters (SMRs) under Part 3, Division 2 of the AML/CTF Act may be submitted on paper, although this is not AUSTRAC's preference. These provisions are made under subsection 244(2) of the AML/CTF Act.
Regulated entities whose reporting volumes are less than 50 forms per year (all types aggregated) are encouraged to report electronically but are not obliged to do so.
Electronic reporting options
AUSTRAC provides three methods for electronic reporting via AUSTRAC Online.
- Data entry: the required report information can be manually entered into AUSTRAC Online. This method is suitable for businesses with small volumes of reports, or as an exception process for larger businesses that are also using the file extraction method. All three types of report (SCTRs/TTRs, IFTIs and SUSTRs/SMRs) may be reported via this method.
- Spreadsheet (for AML/CTF reports)/ Excel upload (for FTR reports): reports can also be entered into a specially-designed spreadsheet form or Microsoft Excel template (available through AUSTRAC online or upon request to AUSTRAC respectively). This is a suitable option for smaller businesses, or businesses that do not have a permanent internet connection. Please note that spreadsheets/Excel templates are only available for IFTIs and SCTRs/TTRs. SUSTRs/SMRs may be entered using the data entry method (described above).
- Extraction: Through AUSTRAC Online or upon request, AUSTRAC can supply the file format specifications and/or XML schemas that will enable a regulated entity to write an extraction program. This program will extract the relevant information from an existing database and collate it in a single file, which is submitted or transmitted to AUSTRAC Online. This is the best option for larger businesses that currently capture and store the required information electronically. This method is mainly used for reporting SCTRs/TTRs and IFTIs, although SUSTRs/SMRs can also be reported using this method.
Reporting entities are required to submit AML/CTF compliance reports to AUSTRAC via AUSTRAC Online rather than on paper, regardless of their financial transaction reporting volume, but subject to their technical means to do so. This approval is made under subsection 244(2) of the Act.
Requests for lodgement of a paper AML/CTF compliance report will be considered on a case by case basis by contacting the AUSTRAC Help Desk.
AUSTRAC requires all cash dealers that meet the volume and technical provisions prescribed above to submit SCTRs and IFTIs under the FTR Act electronically from 1 January 2008.
Reporting entities with the technical means will be required to submit AML/CTF compliance reports via AUSTRAC Online from 1 January 2008.
Reporting entities that meet the volume and technical provisions prescribed above are to submit TTRs and IFTIs electronically under the AML/CTF Act from 12 December 2008.
The AUSTRAC Help Desk may be contacted for a range of queries including:
- access to AUSTRAC Online or assistance in its use
- requests for extensions of time to comply with reporting requirements
- requests for paper AML/CTF compliance report lodgement.
Phone: 1300 021 037 (8.30am-5.00pm EST)
Mail:AUSTRAC Help Desk
PO Box 5516
West Chatswood NSW 1515
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