Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)
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, the Bank Secrecy Act may require you to report the account yearly to the Internal Revenue Service by filing Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).
The FBAR is required because foreign financial institutions may not be subject to the same reporting requirements as domestic financial institutions. The FBAR is a tool to help the United States government identify persons who may be using foreign financial accounts to circumvent United States law. Investigators use FBARs to help identify or trace funds used for illicit purposes or to identify unreported income maintained or generated abroad.
Recent FBAR Guidance
On February 24, 2011, the Treasury Department published final regulations amending the FBAR regulations. These regulations became effective March 28, 2011, and apply to FBARs required to be filed with respect to foreign financial accounts maintained in calendar year 2010, and for FBARs required to be filed with respect to all subsequent calendar years. The FBAR form and instructions (PDF) have been revised to reflect the amendments made by the final regulations.
On May 31, 2011, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued FinCEN Notice 2011-1 (PDF), revised June 6, 2011, to provide filing deferral to certain individuals with signature authority over, but no financial interest in, foreign financial accounts of their employer or a closely related entity. The filing deadline for employees and officers to report signature authority over these accounts was extended to June 30, 2012, for the following individuals:
- An employee or officer of an entity under 31 CFR § 1010.350(f)(2)(i)-(v) who has signature or other authority over and no financial interest in a foreign financial account of a controlled person of the entity; or
- An employee or officer of a controlled person of an entity under 31 CFR § 1010.350(f)(2)(i)-(v) who has signature or other authority over and no financial interest in a foreign financial account of the entity, the controlled person, or another controlled person of the entity.
For purposes of FinCEN Notice 2011-1, a controlled person is a United States or foreign entity more than 50 percent owned (directly or indirectly) by an entity under 31 CFR § 1010.350(f)(2)(i)-(v).
On June 17, 2011, FinCEN issued Notice 2011-2 (PDF) to provide filing deferral for certain officers or employees of investment advisors registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission who have signature authority over, but no financial interest in, foreign financial accounts of their employer. The filing deadline for employees and officers to report signature authority over these accounts was similarly extended to June 30, 2012.
Due to additional questions and concerns regarding the signature authority filing exceptions within Notice 2011-1 and Notice 2011-2, FinCEN twice extended the revised filing deadlines imposed by those two notices. On February 14, 2012, FinCEN issued FinCEN Notice 2012-1 (PDF), extending the reporting deadline to June 30, 2013, for signature authority reporting of the employees and officers identified in Notice 2011-1 and Notice 2011-2, to the same extent of reporting as originally set forth in those notices. More recently, on December 26, 2012, FinCEN issued Notice 2012-2, further extending this same filing deferral to June 30, 2014.
All other U.S. persons required to file an FBAR this year are required to meet the June 30, 2013 filing date.
On Jan 9, 2012, the IRS reopened the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program following continued interest from taxpayers and tax practitioners after the closure of the 2011 and 2009 programs. This program will be open for an indefinite period until otherwise announced.
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 to be reported.
United States person means United States citizens; United States 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;
- IRA owners and beneficiaries;
- 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; and
- 0. Foreign financial accounts maintained on a United States military banking facility.
Look to the form’s instructions to determine eligibility for an exception and to review exception requirements.
Reporting and Filing Information
A person who holds a foreign financial account may have a reporting obligation even though the account produces no taxable income. Checking the appropriate block on FBAR-related federal tax return or information return questions (for example, on Schedule B of Form 1040, the "Other Information" section of Form 1041, Schedule B of Form 1065, and Schedule N of Form 1120) and filing the FBAR, satisfies the account holder's reporting obligation.
The FBAR is not filed with the filer's federal income tax return. The granting, by the IRS, of an extension to file federal income tax returns does not extend the due date for filing an FBAR. You may not request an extension for filing the FBAR. The FBAR is an annual report and must be received by the Department of the Treasury in Detroit, MI, on or before June 30th of the year following the calendar year being reported. While FinCEN strongly encourages individuals to electronically file FBARs, the form can be mailed to one of the two addresses below, provided that the mailing is received by June 30, 2013:
File by mailing the FBAR to:
United States Department of the Treasury
P.O. Box 32621
Detroit, MI 48232-0621
If an express delivery service is required for a timely filed FBAR, address the parcel to:
IRS Enterprise Computing Center
ATTN: CTR Operations Mailroom, 4th Floor
985 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226
Delivery messenger service contact telephone number: (313) 234-1062.
Account holders who do not comply with the FBAR reporting requirements may be subject to civil penalties, criminal penalties, or both.
Electronic Filing for FBAR Forms – MANDATORY Beginning July 1, 2013
On June 29, 2011, FinCEN announced that all FinCEN forms must be filed electronically with certain exceptions. The FBAR was granted a general exemption from mandatory electronic filing through June 30, 2013. E-filing is a quick and secure way for individuals to file FBARs. Filers will receive an acknowledgement of each submission. For more information about FBAR e-filing, read the FinCEN news release.
New Reporting Requirements by U.S. Taxpayers Holding Foreign Financial Assets (Form 8938)
Taxpayers with specified foreign financial assets that exceed certain thresholds must report those assets to the IRS on Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets. The new Form 8938 filing requirement does not replace or otherwise affect a taxpayers requirement to file FBAR. A chart providing a comparison of Form 8938 and FBAR requirements, and other information to help taxpayers determine if they are required to file Form 8938, may be accessed from the IRS Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act Web page.
Help in completing Form TD F 90-22.1 (PDF) is available Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, at (866) 270-0733 (toll-free inside the U.S.) or (313) 234-6146 (not toll-free, for callers outside the U.S.). The form is available online at IRS.gov and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Website or by telephone at (800) 829-3676. Questions regarding the FBAR can be sent to FBARquestions@irs.gov.