The FBAR: Who Should File? Do you have income overseas you forgot to report? Did Grandpa leave you his foreign bank account when he passed away? If you have foreign bank accounts holding more than $10,000 in the aggregate anytime during the year, you are required to file an FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank Accounts) by June 30th of the following year (the 2015 FBAR must be received by the IRS by June 30, 2016). It doesn’t matter whether the foreign accounts generate income or not; just owning them, or having signature authority, requires you to file.
What’s the Big Deal? Failure to file can result in serious consequences. The sanctions for not completing the FBAR include numerous severe civil penalties and potential prosecution followed by a term in federal prison.
What Can I Do? , do not need to enter the OVDP, but can participate in the )penalty are due.
Time is Running Out Under the new rules, any taxpayer seeking to participate in the OVDP, who at any point in the 8 year look back period had an account at a bank which has been publically identified as a target of an IRS criminal tax investigation or as having reached a non- prosecution agreement with the IRS, will be subject to a FBAR penalty of 50% (not 27.5%) on all foreign accounts and assets. Close to 100 Swiss banks are currently negotiating to enter into Non-Prosecution Agreements with the IRS, so the risk of facing a 50% penalty is growing.
Better Safe than Sorry While the current voluntary disclosure program is currently running indefinitely, the rules can change at any time. In addition, disclosing now allows you to transfer the money to your American accounts as well as to implement gifting and other estate planning strategies. Finally, for a “Get Out of Jail Free Card” it’s a pretty good deal. Now you will be able to sleep at night!