Tuesday, June 28, 2011


IRS Issues Warning on FBAR Filing Deadline

The Internal Revenue Service is reminding anyone who has a bank account or other financial account in a foreign country, or who has signature authority over such an account, that they may be required to report the account to the U.S. Department of the Treasury by June 30 each year.

The IRS has recently been extending the filing deadline for the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, also known as an FBAR, under certain circumstances (see IRS Offers Another FBAR Filing Extension and IRS Extends FBAR Filing Deadline for Some Finance Pros). However, the FBAR filing deadline is June 30 each year. Many people in the U.S. have foreign financial accounts, the IRS noted in its announcement last Friday. While there is nothing improper about setting up or maintaining such accounts, many people may mistakenly believe their accounts are not large enough on a combined basis to trigger reporting obligations. Foreign account owners may have to report their accounts to the government, even if the accounts do not generate any taxable income.

U.S. persons are required to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts , or Treasury Department Form TD F 90-22.1, each year if they have a financial interest in or signature authority over financial accounts, including bank, securities or other types of financial accounts, in a foreign country, if the aggregate value of these financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. For 2010, the due date for filing the FBAR is Thursday, June 30, 2011. Unlike with federal income tax returns, requests for an extension of time to file an FBAR cannot be granted.

The FBAR is not an income tax return and should not be mailed with any income tax returns, the IRS noted. It is due by June 30 of the year following the calendar year in which the aggregate value of the foreign accounts, on any one day, exceeds $10,000. But for 2009 and earlier years, the due date is generally Nov. 1, 2011 for individuals whose filing deadline was properly deferred under Notice 2009-62 or Notice 2010-23, and have no financial interest in a foreign financial account but with signature or other authority over that account.

FBARs are filed with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, P.O. Box 32621, Detroit, Mich. 48232-0621. Civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance with the FBAR filing requirements are significant. Civil penalties for a non-willful violation can range up to $10,000 per violation. Civil penalties for a willful violation can range up to the greater of $100,000 or 50 percent of the amount in the account at the time of the violation. Criminal penalties for violating the FBAR requirements while also violating certain other laws can range up to a $500,000 fine or 10 years imprisonment or both. Civil and criminal penalties may be imposed together.

The address for delivery of an FBAR by a method other than U.S. mail is: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Currency Transaction Reporting, 985 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Mich., 48226.