FBAR Filing Requirements

FBAR Filing Requirements

FBAR Filing Requirements

FBAR Filing Requirements: Oftentimes, when someone first learns about the FBAR Filing Requirements they are (overly) worried or concerned — usually from the result of online fear-mongering. The FBAR (Foreign Bank and Financial Account Form) aka FinCEN Form 114 is an international information reporting form. Whether you are a Green Card Holder, U.S. Citizen or Foreign National who met the Substantial Presence Test, you may be required to file the FBAR.   Just being out of compliance does not mean you are automatically penalized.  Rather, the IRS has developed several amnesty programs to assist you with safely getting into compliance.

FBAR Filing Requirements FAQ

Questions about the FBAR can go on indefinitely — there is just that much to know.

Here are some of the more common questions we receive:

What is an FBAR (FinCEN Form 114)?

The FBAR is the FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) form that is used by U.S. Persons to report foreign bank and financial accounts.

While the FBAR is technically a FinCEN Form, it is enforced by the IRS.

And, depending on when you are reading this, you may still have time to timely file your FBAR in the current year.

FBAR Threshold Filing

If a Person has an annual aggregate total across all accounts (not per account total) that exceeds more than $10,000 on any given day of the year, the FBAR reporting rules kick-in and the form must be filed.

The +$10,000 is not a per account requirement, but rather +$10,000 in total for all accounts combined.

Which Accounts are FBAR Reportable?

Many different types of accounts are reported on the FBAR.

It is important to note it is not limited to just bank accounts.

It may also include:

  • Investment Accounts
  • Pension Accounts
  • Stock Accounts
  • Life Insurance

Who has an FBAR Filing Requirement?

U.S. Persons who meet the +$10,000 threshold must file the FBAR.

One very confusing aspect of the FBAR, is that you have to file the form even if you are not required to file a tax return in the current year. 

It is an entirely separate reporting requirement.

Do Individuals File FBAR?

Yes, Individuals file an annual FBAR.

Do Entities File FBAR?

Yep, entities file the FBAR too.

What About Minors, do they File FBAR?

Yes. There is no minor’s exception to filing the FBAR.

How about Trust and Estates, Do they File FBAR Too?

Yes, there is no exception for Trusts and Estates either.

FBAR Due Date

The FBAR is due in April, but is on automatic extension through October. (this may change in the future).

A brief history about the FBAR Form:

The FBAR deadline used to be June 30th.

Then, the FBAR due date was changed to April.

But, to provide help to U.S. Persons just learning about the FBAR, the IRS provided an automatic extension to file the FBAR (until October).

Therefore, as long as you are reading this before October 15th, you can still file a timely FBAR. Before filing for the current year, it is important to determine if you are were compliant in prior years as well

How to FBAR File

Individuals can go to the FinCEN.org website, download the PDF, save it to their computer, and submit directly from the form itself.

The FBAR Filing Requirement Instructions are Confusing

We know.

We have prepared our own set of FBAR Instructions as 10-step guide to try to help you understand the requirements for filing.

Missed the FBAR Deadline

You should contact a Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist to assist you.

Beware of attorneys trying to scare you.

Always be careful of self-purported “FBAR Experts.”

FBAR Penalties

The FBAR Penalties range extensively.

Some people get away with a warning letter in lieu of penalties.

Others can get hit with willfulness penalties, BUT most people are non-willful, and those penalties are more limited.

It is extremely rare for an FBAR violation to turn criminal.

How does IRS Know I Didn’t File FBAR?

The IRS has many different ways to find you.

Sometimes, you get discovered because someone else disclosed an account in which you jointly own it with them, or they already submitted to the FBAR Amnesty program.

More commonly, with the introduction of FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) more than 110 countries and 300,000 Foreign Financial Institutions are actively reporting U.S. persons with foreign account relationships.

FBAR Filing Requirement going Forward?

Just filing forward, before getting into compliance for prior years is referred to as a Quiet Disclosure — and may result in serious tax consequences, including:

  • Willful FBAR Penalties
  • Tax Fraud
  • Special Agent Investigation

But most likely, you will be fine – so beware of online fear mongers.

FBAR Amnesty

FBAR Amnesty is an approved method for safely getting into compliance.

Many taxpayers can reduce or even avoid penalties altogether.

Please beware of any tax professional that recommends a quiet disclosure — those are illegal and may result in an IRS Special Agent Investigation (read: not good)

We Specialize in FBAR & FATCA Offshore Voluntary Compliance

Our firm specializes exclusively in international tax, and specifically IRS offshore disclosure

Contact our firm today for assistance with getting compliant.

    Schedule a Confidential Reduced-Fee Initial Consultation with a Board-Certified Tax Attorney Specialist


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