Foreign Asset Reporting Requirements

Foreign asset reporting requirements continue to be at the forefront of the US crackdown on tax evaders who are attempting to hide assets in overseas accounts. The FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) is a US Treasury Department form whose sole purpose is to collect data on the balances of foreign accounts. If you had a balance of, or signing authority on, $10,000 or more in a foreign bank account (singularly or cumulatively) at any one point in time during the year, you must file an FBAR by June 30th of the following year. 

The FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) filing requirements are a bit more confusing because US residents are required to report any foreign assets that exceed the filing thresholds ($50,000 for a single filer or $100,000 for a married filer). The FATCA gets filed with your US income tax return and therefore has the same due dates. 

In both cases, the penalties for failure to file can be astronomical. Non-willful failure to file the FBAR carries a penalty of up to $10,000 while willful failure to file carries a penalty of the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the account balances as well as the potential for criminal penalties. Failure to file the FATCA can carry a penalty of up to $60,000 including possible criminal penalties. If you have foreign assets that meet these thresholds, please do not avoid mentioning them to your CPA.