What Is FBAR Filing?
FBAR stands for Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. It is a filing requirement for certain U.S. persons that meet two specific criterions. The first one is that they have an interest or authority over a foreign account/(s). The second one is that the account/(s) have an aggregate value of more than $10,000. There is a fairly long list of exceptions that applies to certain situations where FBAR filing is unnecessary. Some of the most common ones include accounts:
- Owned by governments;
- Owned by a U.S. military facility;
- Held in retirement plans;
- Held as a part of a trust where the taxpayer is the beneficiary.
In addition, FBAR and all related tax evasion penalties do not apply to you if your spouse already filed. The reason why is that the FBAR filing rules for married couples oblige them to put everything on one form.
When Is the Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR) Due?
Anybody who has a foreign bank account (or multiple bank accounts) that have an aggregate of more than $10,000 must file an FBAR. The $10,000 threshold is in US dollars – foreign currency should be converted to US dollars. If you are required to file the FBAR, you will file it with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (or “FinCEN”). The return was formerly known as the You do not file the FBAR with the IRS or with your tax return. It is a separate filing. The 2018 extended due date is October 15, 2018.
What about the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Form 8938?
The FATCA Form 8938 is not limited to only expats. It applies to all US citizens. Expats generally have to file Form 8938 if they have $50,000 or more in total foreign assets at year-end or $70,000 at any point throughout the year. The thresholds are higher for taxpayers who are married.
Is it True That the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program is Ending?
The OVDP is a program offered by the IRS that allows the taxpayer to come into tax compliance by making various foreign assets reporting in exchange for a promise to not be criminally prosecuted. OVDP really only applies to those who were willfully hiding money – meaning they were actively trying to conceal their foreign assets. However, the IRS recently announced that they will be ending the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program on September 28, 2018. If you failed to make the necessary foreign asset disclosures but weren’t trying to actively hide our foreign assets, you may be eligible for the Streamlined Filing Procedure. This procedure allows you to report foreign assets without fear of tax penalties being assessed.