The IRS reports that U.S. persons who have bank and other financial accounts in a foreign country may be required to report those accounts to the U.S. Department of Treasury by the June 30 deadline.
With globalization, more people in the U.S. have foreign financial accounts. There is nothing improper about setting up or maintaining such accounts. However, U.S. persons are required to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), Form TD F 90-22.1, each year if they have a financial interest in or signature authority or other authority over any financial accounts, including bank, securities or other types of financial accounts, in a foreign country, if the aggregate value of these financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.
Since 2000, the number of Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) forms received by the Treasury has increased by nearly 85 percent, from 174,528 in 2000 to 322,414 in 2007. Despite this significant increase in filings, concern remains about the degree of reporting compliance for those who are required to file.
The 2008 FBAR form is due June 30, 2009.
The FBAR is not an income tax return and should not be mailed with any income tax returns. The FBAR must be filed on or before June 30 of the following year to:
U.S. Department of the Treasury
P.O. Box 32621
Detroit, MI 48232-0621.
The address for commercial delivery is:
U.S. Department of Treasury
Currency Transaction Reporting
985 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, Mich., 48226.
The FBAR form is not available for electronic filing, but many income tax software packages can prepare a printed copy.
Unlike with federal income tax returns, requests for an extension of time to file an FBAR are not granted.
Civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance with the FBAR filing requirements are severe. Civil penalties for a non-willful violation can range up to $10,000 per violation. Civil penalties for a willful violation can range up to the greater of $100,000 or 50 percent of the amount in the account at the time of the violation. Criminal penalties for violating the FBAR requirements while also violating certain other laws can range up to a $500,000 fine or 10 years imprisonment or both. Civil and criminal penalties may be imposed together.
If you were required to file FBARs for earlier years, you should file the delinquent FBAR reports and attach a statement explaining why the reports are filed late. No penalty will be asserted if IRS determines that the late filings were due to reasonable cause. Keep copies, for your record, of what you send.