The Australian government announced that it will soon be illegal to use more than $10,000 cash to purchase anything, forcing individuals who wish to buy more expensive items to use a cashier’s check or electronic transfer, ostensibly in the name of fighting organized crime and money laundering.
The move reportedly comes in response to the government’s Black Economy Standing Taskforce. In addition to the cash purchase ban, the government has allocated a $319 million package to the Tax Office to develop new strategies to target the black economy.
Treasurer Scott Morrison said the Black Economy Standing Taskforce will include a rigorous identification system and “mobile strike teams,” in an effort to detect people making suspicious cash transactions, as well as a black economy hotline for citizens to report anyone suspected of engaging in illegal transactions.
“Cash provides an easy, anonymous and largely untraceable mechanism for conducting black economy activity,” the response said. “Cash payments make it easier to under-report income and avoid tax obligations. This allows businesses transacting in cash to undercut competitors and gain a competitive advantage.”