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FBAR REPORTING (Foreign Bank Account Report)

***Disclaimer, I am not an lawyer, nor am I a tax advisor. This article is for informational purposes only. Please consult your tax professional for further information regarding FBAR - Foreign Bank Account Reporting.***

How to file an Fbar

How to file an FBAR.
The U.S. Government requires all citizens that have a financial interest in, or signature authority over foreign financial accounts to file an FBAR if the aggregate value of the foreign financial account(s) exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. You must submit the FBAR on, or before June 30th of the year immediately following the calendar year being reported.

***UPDATE: The due date for 2016 FBARS is April 18th 2017, but a six-month automatic extension of the filing deadline to October 16th is available without having to file a specific extension request. (Previously, the deadline for filing the FBAR was June 30th, without regard to the due date of the filerís income tax return, and no extensions were available.) *** Check the website of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) - Financial Crimes Enforcement Network for the most up to date information. (With a name like that, you know they take filing it very seriously.) See the link below.

The FBAR must be filed electronically using the BSA E-filing system via their website.
BSA E-Filing System

The penalties for failure to file the FBAR:

If an individual fails to file the FBAR one of two civil penalties can be imposed.

  • a non-willful penalty of up to $10,000 may be imposed on any person who fails to file an FBAR.

  • a willful penalty of $100.000 or 50% of the account balance at the time of the violation, which ever is the greater amount may be imposed on any person who willfully fails to file the FBAR.

Donít take the chance of dealing with those outcomes. It is a quick, and painless process to fill out the FBAR online.

You will need some information to fill out your forms such as...

  • The name of your bank, or financial institution where your account is held.

  • The maximum value your account reached durning the calendar year being reported.

  • Your account number.

  • The address of the bank, or institution where you have your money.

Having this information ready will help expedite the process.

How to fill out the FBAR forms to report your offshore account(s)

Go to the website
BSA E-Filing System

If you are apprehensive about clicking on a link to a website that you will be entering your personal information into, go to Google, and search for BSA E-filing, or File an FBAR

You will be given two options to pick from to fill out the form. The first is a PDF file to download that you can fill out at your leisure, and upload it when you are finished.

The second option is to file the FBAR right on the website which is the option that I chose.

The first section will ask for your email address followed by your first name, last name, and telephone number.

If your browser tries to auto fill in the spaces for you, donít allow it to automatically fill them in. The spaces that I filled in myself were in blue colored text, but the spaces that were auto filled in were in black text. When I finished filling out all of the required information and tried to submit it, I received an error message about the spaces that were auto filled in, and had to redo them again. After I retyped the same information into the space the text appeared in blue, and it went through fine when I clicked submit.

(If you hover your mouse over a space to be filled out a small popup will appear giving you more detailed instructions about how to fill it out if you have any questions.)

The next section asks for the calendar year the report is for, filer type, social security number, date of birth, and address.

The following section is for information on financial account(s) owned separately. Here is where they will ask for...

  • Maximum account value.

  • Type of account.

  • Financial institution name

  • Account number

  • Address

The next section is for accounts jointly owned.

Then comes a section for information on financial accounts where the filer has signature or other Authority but no financial interest in the account(s)

The section that follows is for information on financial account(s) where filer is filing a consolidated report.

The final section is for 3rd party preparer use only. If someone else is filing out the FBAR for you.

After you finish filling out the form go back near the top just under the part that asked for your email address, and click sign form, then click submit. You will then get a file to download that is your copy of the form for your records. I recommend you print out a copy as well, and file it away.

Shortly after you submit your information you will receive an E-mail from the U.S. Department of Treasuryís Financial Crimes Enforcement Network notifying you that they have received your submission.

They will give you a receipt number, and a BSA Identifier number for your records. It would be wise to print this out as well, and file it with your copy of the forms that you filled out.

I was a bit nervous about all this since it was my first year doing it. I put it off until almost the end of June before going online, and filling out the form. I thought that it would be a complex, and difficult form to fill out being that it is an important government document, but it was very quick and simple to fill out.

The fact that it is the BSA E-Filling system run by the Federal Crimes Enforcement Network that the FBAR is submitted to didnít help calm any first time anxieties either.

How does a Total Loser manage to open an offshore account, and have enough funds in it to be required to file an FBAR?

Thatís a good question for another article...

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