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FBAR (Foreign Bank Accounts)

A United States person that  has a financial  interest in or signature authority over foreign financial accounts must file an FBAR if the aggregate value of the foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

A financial account includes, but is not limited to, a securities, brokerage, savings, demand, checking, deposit, time deposit, or other account maintained with a financial institution.  Cash value of life insurance and annuities count as well.

A “foreign financial account” is simply an account maintained at a financial institution outside of the U.S., even at a branch of a U.S. bank that is physically located outside of the United States.

United States taxpayers, including individuals, corporations, partnerships and trusts, all must file this informational form, and the form must be filed also for offshore accounts constructively owned through offshore entities.

The failure to file an FBAR may be subject you to a civil penalty up to $10,000 per violation even if you did not know about this form.  If the failure to file was willful, then penalties may equal the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the highest account balance for that year and there may be criminal penalties as well.

Our team has counseled many U.S. taxpayers on how to deal with the past non-filing of the FBAR in a way that minimizes or avoids the penalties.  If you have a foreign financial account that has not been reported, we are happy to discuss your options with you.

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