This web page can be viewed better with javascript enabled. header image

To download Adobe Acrobat Reader, download PowerPoint Viewer or download Excel Viewer, please visit Accessibility page.

To view or print PDF content, download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Download PDF Version PDF     Print this page Print

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network


Issued: May 2, 2008
Subject: Preparation Guidelines for Use of Special Response "XX" in FinCEN Form 109, Suspicious Activity Report by Money Services Business (Form Date March 31, 2007)

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ("FinCEN") is issuing this guidance to assist money services businesses ("MSBs") in correctly completing FinCEN Form 109, Suspicious Activity Report by Money Services Business ("SAR-MSB"). On October 10, 2007, FinCEN issued guidance entitled, "Suggestions for Addressing Common Errors Noted in Suspicious Activity Reporting,"1 which highlighted the importance of filing complete and accurate SARs especially with regard to those item fields designated as critical. Subsequently, FinCEN updated the instructions to the SAR-MSB on February 29, 2008 to reflect the importance of proper completion of those critical fields. The present guidance highlights the SAR-MSB instructions for completing a critical field when information is unavailable or inapplicable. Where appropriate, the present guidance provides more detailed instructions to increase industry comprehension.

The SAR-MSB designates certain item fields as critical by including an asterisk (*) in the item or section title. The information contained in these critical item fields is of significant value to law enforcement investigations and statistical analysis of suspicious activity. When a MSB is completing a critical field and does not have information or the information is not applicable, General Instruction 4 on the SAR-MSB instructs the MSB, subject to certain narrow exceptions, to enter "XX".2 The special response "XX" demonstrates to law enforcement and analysts that the MSB is not overlooking a critical field. The following specific instructions provide a detailed explanation of General Instruction 4. These instructions may be applied to the paper SAR-MSB and the SAR-MSB BSA E-filing form. The instructions should not be applied to other FinCEN forms unless stated explicitly in those forms' instructions or other guidance.

* * * * *

Questions or comments regarding the contents of this Guidance should be addressed to the FinCEN Regulatory Helpline at 800-949-2732.

1Suggestions for Addressing Common Errors Noted in Suspicious Activity Reporting, (October 10, 2007) located at
2Non-asterisk fields should be left blank if the information is unknown or not applicable.
3An "entity" as referenced in this guidance is a person, other than an individual, as defined in 31 CFR § 103.11(z).