Reporting Foreign Bank Accounts to IRS

The Bank Secrecy Act requires that a Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), be filed if the aggregate balances of such foreign accounts exceed $10,000 at any time during the year. This form is used as part of the IRS’s enforcement initiative against abusive offshore transactions and attempts by U.S. persons to avoid taxes by hiding money offshore.

The FBAR covers a calendar year and must be filed no later than June 30th of the following year (regardless of whether you file an extension for you Form 1040) and includes any interest a U.S. person has in:

Offshore bank accounts
Offshore mutual funds
Offshore hedge funds
Offshore variable universal life insurance policies
Offshore variable annuities a/k/a Swiss Annuities
Debit card and prepaid credit card offshore accounts

The penalties for FBAR noncompliance are stiffer than the civil tax penalties ordinarily imposed for delinquent taxes. The penalties for noncompliance which the government may impose include a fine of not more than $500,000 and imprisonment of not more than five years, for failure to file a report, supply information, and for filing a false or fraudulent report.

Taxpayers who hire an experienced tax attorney in Offshore Account Voluntary Disclosures should result in avoiding any pitfalls of non-disclosure or incomplete disclosure.