Cashing a check written for more than $10,000 does take extra steps compared with cashing a smaller check. If you have a good relationship with your personal bank, they may be able to assist you, but most times you must locate the bank from which the check originated. All checks cashed for more than $10,000 are reported to the IRS.
Locate the Originating Bank
Locate the originating bank on the check. The bank name and location should be located directly on the check. You can also do an internet search on the routing number, the nine-digit code printed on the bottom of the check, to find the bank from which it originated.
Call Ahead for Details
Call the bank and ask them what steps are necessary to cash the check. They will most likely tell you that you will need one to two forms of identification. Make sure the funds will be available the day you plan to cash your check. Be aware that banks follow their own policies and procedures. Some banks and branches may not cash checks this large, so do call ahead and save yourself the trouble of visiting a branch that cannot help you.
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Quietly Cash the Check
The bank will check your identification and take a thumbprint; they may even call the signer of the check to make sure it is valid. They will also complete a currency transaction report, which will be submitted to the IRS and includes your identifying information, such as your social security number and personal address. The IRS "$10,000 rule" requires that all cash transactions over $10,000 are reported to them. The aim is to identify the source of money and prevent money laundering scams.
Take Precautions and Stay Safe
Bring something to carry the money in and do not tell anyone where you are going or what you are doing, especially in a public place where it can be overheard. Talk quietly when speaking with the bank teller. Request an escort from the bank to your car and deposit the money into a safe place as soon as possible. If possible, ask for a money order or cashiers check instead of cash. This is treated like cash but you're less exposed if you lose it.