Every year, U.S. persons are required to file FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”), if the total amount of their foreign accounts exceed $10,000. Under current regulations, reportable foreign accounts include bank accounts, securities accounts, and certain other specified financial accounts (e.g., insurance accounts with cash values). See 31 C.F.R. § 1010.350(c).
On New Year’s Eve, however, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced its intent to broaden the list of reportable accounts to include virtual currency. Specifically, FinCEN issued a notice that provides:
In coordination with the Federal Banking Agencies, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today issued a joint fact sheet to provide clarity to banks on how to apply a risk-based approach to charities and other non-profit organizations (NPOs).
The joint fact sheet highlights the importance of ensuring that legitimate charities have access to financial services and can transmit funds through legitimate and transparent channels, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the joint fact sheet reminds banks to apply a risk-based approach to customer due diligence (CDD) requirements when developing the risk profiles of charities and other non-profit customers. The fact sheet reaffirms that the application of a risk-based approach is consistent with existing CDD and other Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) compliance requirements.
When most people think of foreign accounts, they think of ex-pat living overseas and utilizing banks for the accumulation of their payments. However, many taxpayers may also be subject to the federal Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts or FBAR reporting without realizing it. The United States Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) 114 form is filed alongside taxpayers’ federal tax return and reports information for those that have a financial interest or signature authority over a foreign financial account.
Financial interest is defined as: directly owning an account; directly owning or indirectly owning more than fifty percent of a corporation’s voting power and/or shares when that corporation owns an account; directly owning or indirectly owning more than fifty percent of a partnership’s profits or capital when that partnership owns an account, or directly owning or indirectly owning more than fifty percent of the voting power, total value or the equity interest or assets, or interest in profits of any entity that owns an account.
Americans living abroad are still required to file a U.S. tax return, and furthermore they may have to report their foreign bank and investment accounts by filing a Foreign Bank Account Report, or FBAR.
Due to the 2010 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), most foreign banks and other financial firms are now reporting their American account holders account balance and contact details to the IRS. Read More
Why are PFIC rules important for holders of Canadian mutual fund?
Many American citizens living or working in Canada have invested in Canadian mutual funds – likewise, many Canadians who subsequently moved to the United States retained their Canadian mutual funds holdings. They likely are unaware of the PFIC rules. Consequently many American taxpayers holding Canadian PFIC have not met their reporting obligations. Not only that but PFIC investments are to be avoided since its taxation (with the exception of the QEF regime) is designed to be punitive. Read More
Living in Denmark is an incredible experience for a number of reasons, including the friendly locals, the free, high-quality public services, the hygge, the charming culture, not to mention easy access to the rest of Europe. As an American expatriate living in Denmark though, what exactly do you need to know regarding filing U.S. expat (and Danish) taxes?
It has been estimated that there are several thousand Americans living in Sweden.
Living in Sweden is an incredible experience for a number of reasons, including the friendly locals, the free, high-quality public services, the charming culture, not to mention easy access to the rest of Europe. As an American expatriate living in Sweden though, what exactly do you need to know regarding filing U.S. expat (and Swedish) taxes?
Often taxpayers, whether Canadian or U.S. tax filers, are self-preparing their own returns with tax preparation software packages purchased in the market place. Problems arise numerous times in that the taxpayer not being aware of tax law, has omitted to file various required annual foreign information returns. This is likely due to the fact the software is not a professional version and/or the taxpayer-preparer is not reading any of the software return’s diagnostics.
Remember all that excitement around the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act? Yes, I bet you do! We talked about it here. So it is here- the new FinCEN Form 114 (aka FBAR) filing deadline!
I looked up my last blog post and realized I have not posted here since January! What a tax season it was, and how did time get away from me? Oh wait…I know how!
The past few years have seen a steady growth of a client base that has foreign accounts: no complaints there! Most clients have very routine FBAR filing requirements but then sometimes things are a little out of the ordinary and that gets me all excited…yes, I know..it does! That either tells you about my lack of a life during tax season or we should just notch it up to tax nerd-iness!
Is This Canadian Baby An American Tax Cheat?
A Canadian baby is learning about taxes, banking and activism at a tender age. The eight month old girl received a “Dear Valued Customer” letter from her Canadian bank when she was six months old advising her that her account information may be provided to Canada Revenue Agency to pass on to IRS. The wee “Valued Customer” was directed to complete, sign and mail forms to the bank.
Baby Elle (not her real name) and her Canadian parents were Read More
I have to say today’s blog post was triggered by a phone call a few weeks ago. The would-be client wanted to report his foreign bank accounts. Apparently, this good citizen had all his I’s dotted & T’s crossed – so to speak – so what was the problem you ask? I hate to say this, but it happens more than you would think. He did not know there were additional reporting requirements involved when it came to bank accounts in foreign financial institutions. (More on FBAR thresholds in my post here)
You have to know that the IRS will not impose a penalty for the failure to file the delinquent FBARs if you “properly” reported the foreign bank accounts on your US tax returns, and paid tax on the income from these accounts and have not been contacted by the IRS for an income tax examination or a request for the delinquent returns has not been made by them. Read More