The Treasury Department is urging banks to take advantage of interim currency transaction reporting rules now, rather than delaying until the agency completes them.
Pamela Johnson, assistant director of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, said banks have no reason to wait.
"We are committed to not narrowing the scope" of the rule, she said, "but rather are looking for ways to expand the number of entities authorized for exemption and make the process as easy as possible."
In May, the government said banks could choose not to report cash transactions of more than $10,000 with publicly traded companies and with businesses that file consolidated tax forms with a public company. But compliance officers are nervous because this is an interim rule - meaning it could still change.
Comments on the current exemptions are due by Aug. 1, and a final rule is expected to be adopted this fall.
Peter Janczak, compliance officer at Firstar Corp., Milwaukee, said changes in the interim rule would force bankers to repeat the work of determining who is exempt. That would take time and money, he said.
"I've been hearing people say that since it's an interim rule they'll put it off and worry about it when the final rule comes around," said Mr. Janczak. "People are thinking that until the rule comes out they're not going to get the benefit out of it for the work they have to put into it."
Because of that uncertainty, said Lorraine Hyde, a consultant at the Minneapolis accounting firm of McGladrey & Pullen, it's a good idea for banks to take a wait-and-see approach.
The interim rule asks all banks to submit their lists of exempted companies by Aug. 15. But Ms. Johnson said her agency would accept filings after that date. The interim rule also asks banks to file exemptions for new customers within 30 days of the first transaction. These filings are expected to be required once the agency adopts the rule this fall.
Agency officials expect the exemptions to eliminate millions of reports per year.