Do You Need to File?
We can help decipher the rules, prepare and file the necessary reports for Foreign bank account holdings or proceeds.
IRS Public Statements
If you have a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account, exceeding certain thresholds, the Bank Secrecy Act may require you to report the account yearly to the Department of Treasury by electronically filing a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). See the ‘Who Must File an FBAR’ section below for additional criteria.
Filing deferral for certain individuals with signature authority only, effective through April 15, 2017
FinCEN Notice 2015-1 extended the due date for filing FBARs by certain individuals with signature authority over, but no financial interest in, foreign financial accounts of their employer or a closely related entity, to April 15, 2017
|December 8, 2015||FinCEN Notice 2015-1 further extended the due date for filing to April 15, 2017|
Who Must File an FBAR
United States persons are required to file an FBAR if:
- the United States person had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States; and
- the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year reported.
United States person includes U.S. citizens; U.S. residents; entities, including but not limited to, corporations, partnerships, or limited liability companies, created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States; and trusts or estates formed under the laws of the United States.
Exceptions to the Reporting Requirement
Exceptions to the FBAR reporting requirements can be found in the FBAR instructions. There are filing exceptions for the following United States persons or foreign financial accounts:
- Certain foreign financial accounts jointly owned by spouses
- United States persons included in a consolidated FBAR
- Correspondent/Nostro accounts
- Foreign financial accounts owned by a governmental entity
- Foreign financial accounts owned by an international financial institution
- Owners and beneficiaries of U.S. IRAs
- Participants in and beneficiaries of tax-qualified retirement plans
- Certain individuals with signature authority over, but no financial interest in, a foreign financial account
- Trust beneficiaries (but only if a U.S. person reports the account on an FBAR filed on behalf of the trust)
- Foreign financial accounts maintained on a United States military banking facility.
Review the FBAR instructions for more information on the reporting requirement and on the exceptions to the reporting requirement.
Reporting and Filing Information
A person who holds a foreign financial account may have a reporting obligation even when the account produces no taxable income. The reporting obligation is met by answering questions on a tax return about foreign accounts (for example, the questions about foreign accounts on Form 1040 Schedule B) and by filing an FBAR.
The FBAR is a calendar year report and must be filed on or before June 30 of the year following the calendar year being reported. Effective July 1, 2013, the FBAR must be filed electronically through FinCEN’s BSA E-Filing System. The FBAR is not filed with a federal tax return. When the IRS grants a filing extension for a taxpayer’s income tax return, it does not extend the time to file an FBAR. There is no provision for requesting an extension of time to file an FBAR.
Those required to file an FBAR who fail to properly file a complete and correct FBAR may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per violation for nonwillful violations that are not due to reasonable cause. For willful violations, the penalty may be the greater of $100,000 or 50 percent of the balance in the account at the time of the violation, for each violation. For guidance on circumstances including natural disasters that prevent timely filing of an FBAR, see FIN-2013-G002 (June 24, 2013).
Note: The recently enacted Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 changes the standard FBAR due date to April 15 beginning with the 2016 calendar year reports, which are due in 2017. The FBAR deadline for calendar year 2015 reports remains June 30, 2016 (with no extensions allowed).