The law requires each “United States person” who has a financial interest in or signature authority over any foreign financial account to file an FBAR if the aggregate value of the foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. The form required is FinCEN Form 114.
This is one that should be pretty well known by now. The obligation to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) with the US Treasury was initially imposed by the Bank Secrecy Act in 1970. Here are the Instructions to FinCEN Form 114 (FBAR). You can electronically file Form 114 for free here.
What Is a Financial Interest for the FBAR?
According to the FBAR instructions:
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FBARs are no laughing matter. In recent years, the Internal Revenue Service, as well as other tax agencies around the world, have stepped up their efforts with respect to international civil tax enforcement. In particular, the Internal Revenue Service oversees investigations concerning FBAR compliance and assesses and collects civil penalties for those U.S. persons who fail to report foreign accounts. The penalties are steep—now a $12,921 maximum annual penalty. However, one relevant question is whether those penalties apply per FBAR filing or per account. In a recent decision by the Southern District of Florida, the Court determined that such FBAR penalties should be applied per account.
The U.S. tax system is different to every other developed country’s, in that America taxes based on citizenship rather than on residence. That means that whereas most countries only tax residents (and non-residents who have income arising in the country), the U.S. taxes all U.S. citizens wherever in the world they live. Read More
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is a bureau of the Treasury Department. Authorized under the Bank Secrecy Act, foreign bank account reporting, commonly referred to as “FBAR”, is electronically reported to the IRS via FinCen Form 114, separate and distinct from filing a U.S. income tax return.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, better known as FATCA, was enacted March 18, 2010 and requires filing IRS Form 8938. It is important to note that this foreign financial asset reporting requirement does not replace or otherwise affect a taxpayer’s obligation to file a FinCEN Form 114. Basically, if you are a US taxpayer holding foreign financial assets you must file IRS Form 8938 if you have an obligation to file IRS Form 1040 reporting income.
The short-term highway funding extension was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Obama on July 31, 2015. It contains several important tax provisions (H.R. 3236 (https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hr3236/BILLS-114hr3236ih.pdf)). The bill changes the due dates for several common tax returns, overrules the Supreme Court’s Home Concrete decision, mandates the reporting of additional information on mortgage information statements, and requires consistent basis reporting between estates and beneficiaries.
Broadly speaking, the act establishes new due dates for partnership and C corporation returns, as well as FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), and several other IRS information returns: Read More
Since 2009 the IRS campaign against unreported income and undisclosed foreign accounts has morphed from a focus on Swiss banks and large accounts to a kind of everyman’s tax disclosure. But keep in mind that just like when the net is lowered into the water it catches all sizes of fish – the IRS states no undisclosed foreign account is too small to avoid penalties. Many people have problems sleeping because of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the filing requirements of Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR).
FATCA was enacted in 2010 and the IRS has touted that FATCA has been successful so far. The IRS states they have collected US$6.5 billion and they reasonably believe that Read More
On June 18, 2014, the IRS announced major changes in the 2012 offshore account compliance programs, providing new options to help taxpayers residing in the United States and overseas. The changes are anticipated to provide thousands of people a new avenue to come back into compliance with their tax obligations and would largely waive these penalties if taxpayers come forward and show that they didn’t hide the money on purpose.
Separate from United States income tax returns, many U.S. persons are required to file with the U.S. Treasury a return commonly known as an “FBAR” (or Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts; known as FinCEN Form 114), listing all non-US bank and financial accounts. These forms are required if on any day of any calendar year an Read More
When looking for a picture for this post, I came across this one and remembered my college English Professor. She really loved the term, “Freudian Slip” for some reason! All I knew then was that Sigmund Freud was the father of psychoanalysis but I never quite understood how that related to a Business English class, unless that was the Professor’s way of telling us we were driving her nuts! Now I know that the term, “Freudian Slip” is a “mistake in speech that shows what the speaker is truly thinking” or “to do what one is truly thinking about”.
No, this post is not about defining psychoanalytic terms, dare I say more interesting than tax stuff? Not quite, but this post is about the latest buzz from the Internal Revenue Service, about some situations US taxpayers having foreign accounts might be in and their Read More
There’s this question that I always get from my clients: “Do I have to report my real estate holdings in a foreign country?” To which, my answer (in true accountant style) is always: “It depends”. Let me explain further.
You may be a first generation immigrant to the US and still have strong ties to your home country; by way of family elders who live there or a strong sense that you would like to some day retire back there, where you grew up. Or you are an adventurous investor who would like to invest in a little vacation home by the beach in the Caribbean. Or you were stationed abroad through your job and loved it so much that you invested in some property there. Then this blog is for you to read! Read More
It’s that time of year when we all worry about getting material ready for preparation of United States tax returns and related information return filings. During the course of this information gathering a taxpayer may discover that some forms were completed incorrectly in the past and should be amended or, perhaps the taxpayer discovers a filing should have been done, but was not. Two very important forms for US persons having overseas accounts or assets are the so-called “FBAR” short for “Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts” (FinCen Form 114) and the “Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets” (IRS Form 8938). International tax practitioners know how severe the penalties can be for non-filings or improper filings of these two forms.
Below is some very basic information about these forms to get you ready for tax filing time: Read More
On September 30, 2013, FinCEN posted on their internet site, a notice announcing FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (the current FBAR form). FinCEN Form 114 supersedes TD F 90-22.1 (the FBAR form that was used in prior years) and is only available online through the BSA E-Filing System website.
On July 29, 2013, FinCEN posted a notice on their internet site that introduced a new form to filers who submit FBARs jointly with spouses or who wish to have a third party preparer file their FBARs on their behalf. The new FinCEN Form 114a, Record of Authorization to Electronically File FBARs, is not submitted with the filing but, instead, is maintained with the FBAR records by the filer and the account owner, and made available to FinCEN or IRS on request. Read More