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So what do you do if somebody leaves a paper bag full of cash with the name of the foundation in the mailbox where the foundation receives its mail? --J.J. via email

It must be wonderful to have such an optimistic imagination! I suppose that what I would do depends in large part on how much money was left. I would try to find out who left the money to see if it was intended as a gift and to thank them. If it were a large amount, I might report to police, or if over $10,000 to the FBI because the IRS requires reporting of cash transactions over $10,000. If over $10,00, it must be reported to the IRS on Form 8300 within 15 days of receipt. The IRS is suspicious of cash transactions in excessive amounts. IRS Publication 1544 on reporting transactions over $10,000 requires the reporter to include the Taxpayer Identification Number of the person who gave the cash. It doesn't say anything about anonymous donors. If I couldn't find out who left it, I would hold it for a while before I spent it, just to make sure that no one else has a claim on it. If the amount were substantial, I would hold the actual cash to see if any of the bills were marked in some sort of a sting operation. --Don Kramer

 

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