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Who Must File an FBAR (Foreign Bank Accounting Report )

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 reported.

United States person includes U.S. citizens; U.S. 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.

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 types of foreign financial account, exceeding certain thresholds, the Bank Secrecy Act may require you to report the account yearly to the Department of Treasury by electronically filing a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). See the ‘Who Must File an FBAR’ section below for additional criteria FinCEN introduces new forms

On September 30, 2013, FinCEN posted a notice on their website announcing the current FBAR form, FinCEN Report 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. FinCEN Report 114 supersedes the previous years’ form TD F 90-22.1 and is only available online through the BSA E-Filing System website. The e-filing system allows the filer to enter the calendar year reported, including past years, on the online FinCEN Report 114a It also offers filers an option to “explain a late filing” or to select “Other” and enter up to 750-characters within a text box to provide a further explanation of the late filing or to indicate whether the filing is made in conjunction with an IRS compliance program.

On July 29, 2013, FinCEN posted a notice on their website introducing a new report to filers who submit FBARs jointly with spouses or who wish to have a third-party preparer file their FBARs on their behalf. The new FinCEN Report 114a, Record of Authorization to Electronically File FBARs, is not submitted when filing an FBAR but, instead, is kept in FBAR records maintained by the filer and the account owner, and must be made available to FinCEN or IRS upon request


Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was passed as part of the HIRE Act, generally requires that foreign financial Institutions and certain other non-financial foreign entities report on the foreign assets held by their U.S. account holders or be subject to withholding on withholdable payments. The HIRE Act also contained legislation requiring U.S. persons to report, depending on the value, their foreign financial accounts and foreign assets.

FATCA brings about two notable changes that affect all expats: U.S. taxpayers with foreign accounts and assets might need to file Form 8938: Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets with their returns. Financial institutions must report information about U.S. citizens who have accounts with the institutions.

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