If you are a U.S. taxpayer who owns financial accounts overseas, or have signature authority over such accounts, the deadline for filing the FBAR (The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) with the Treasury is tomorrow, June 30th.
Who Must File
Filing requirements apply to those who have financial accounts, or interests with aggregate balances which exceed $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. This includes U.S. citizens and U.S. residents, such as Green Card holders. Corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, trusts, and estates may also be required to file an FBAR.
The term “financial accounts” covers a wide range of financial products
- certificates of deposits, checking and savings accounts
- securities and brokerage
- mutual fund-type investments
- commodities futures
- option accounts
- insurance and annuity policies with cash values
The foreign bank account reporting rules are a component of anti-money laundering laws that seek to fight financial crime, including terrorist financing, and money laundering.
How To File
FBARs can only be filed on-line by using the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) BSA E-filing System.
This is one deadline you don’t want to miss, as the penalties for non-filing, or even late-filing, can be severe. In fact, the penalties can potentially exceed the value of the accounts.
Generally, taxpayers need to be aware of two types of penalties for non-filing or late-filing of FBARS:
A non-willful violation could be one where the taxpayer wasn’t aware of the FBAR reporting requirement. The “non-willful” taxpayer could face penalties as much as $10,000 per account.
If the taxpayer’s failure to file is determined to be willful, the penalty then jumps through the roof. In this case, the IRS is saying that the taxpayer knew or should have known about their requirement to file an FBAR. A willful violation carries a penalty of up to the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the amount of the account at the time of the violation. Criminal penalties may also apply in willful violation cases.
Unlike tax returns, there is no extension of time available for filing the FBAR for 2014 beyond June 30, 2015.