Currency Law & Legal Definition


Currency is money used in exchanges which has an assigned value and is authorized by law. Currency laws of countries govern such issues as the import and export of national currency, residents' bank accounts abroad, and conversion and repatriation of export proceeds. Fro example, cross-border currency laws may require travelers to declare the currency they are carrying if over a certain amount.

In the United States, federal laws are the main laws governing currency. Federal law makes it a crime to deface currency. There is no Federal statute which mandates that private businesses must accept cash as a form of payment. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise.

The following is an example of a state law governing currency:

  1. "Every financial institution shall keep a record of each of its currency transactions as required by 31 U.S.C. §5313 and regulations pursuant thereto, as the same may be amended from time to time ("federal monetary transaction records and reports requirement"). Upon the written request of the Revenue Commissioner, each financial institution shall file a report as described in this chapter with the State Revenue Department. After such request and during the period of time covered thereby, each report shall be filed no later than 15 banking days after the report of the same transaction is required to be filed pursuant to the federal monetary transaction records and reports requirement. If the information required to be reported to the State Revenue Department pursuant to this chapter becomes otherwise available to the State Revenue Department through access to reports of any federal agency, the Revenue Commissioner shall notify the financial institutions in writing that such financial institutions no longer have any obligation to file any report pursuant to this chapter. Each report may be in the same form as, or may be a copy of, the report required by the federal monetary transaction records and reports requirement. Notwithstanding any provision hereof to the contrary, maintaining the records and filing a copy of reports required by the federal monetary transaction records and reports requirement shall satisfy the recordkeeping and reporting requirements of this chapter.
  2. Multiple transactions conducted by or for any person in any one day shall be treated as a single transaction, if the financial institution actually is aware of them and such transactions are by or on behalf of the same person.
  3. Information obtained by the State Revenue Department may not be disclosed by the Revenue Commissioner or any officer or employee of the State Revenue Department, except that the Revenue Commissioner may in his discretion, if he deems it necessary or proper to the enforcement of the laws of this state or the United States and to the best interest of the public, divulge such information to any department, agency, or instrumentality of the state or federal government."