When and How to Report Foreign Financial Accounts

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My name is John and I work for the Internal Revenue Service.

There are many legitimate reasons why U.S. citizens and residents have foreign financial accounts.

Those with foreign financial accounts must generally tell the IRS when the total value of those accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the year.

The IRS recently revised the form and instructions used to report your foreign financial accounts.

This form is the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts – commonly called the “F-BAR.”

Generally, you must file an f-bar if:

  • you have a financial interest in or signature authority over one or more financial accounts located in a foreign country; and
  • the total value of the accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the year.
  • U.S. Businesses, including non-profits, must also file the f-bar if they meet these criteria.

The IRS must receive your f-bar by June 30 of the year following the calendar year that you are reporting.

New f-bar regulations were also recently published.

The regulations are effective March 28, 2011 and apply to calendar year 2010 and future years.

The new regulations define the scope of who must file the f-bar, describe what types of accounts must be reported, and provide additional filing exceptions.

The f-bar is a tool that discourages persons from using foreign financial accounts for illicit purposes, from tax evasion to terrorism.

There are severe civil and criminal penalties for those who fail to properly report their foreign financial accounts.

For more information about how, when and if you need to file the –f-bar, visit IRS.gov and type “f-b-a-r” into the search box.

Or call the Toll-free f-bar hotline at 800-800-2877.