These are the two most common questions we are asked about the Department of the Treasury Form 90-22.1 Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, otherwise known as the FBAR.
Who is generally required to file an FBAR?
U.S. persons with a financial interest in, or signature or other authority over, financial accounts in a foreign country that have an aggregate value exceeding $10,000 at any time during the calendar year are required to file the FBAR. Although this filing requirement is not new, the IRS has recently made clear that its scope is much broader than previously understood.
Is it a crime not to file an FBAR when under an obligation to do so?
Yes. Criminal penalties for the willful violation of FBAR requirements can, if connected with the violation of another law or if part of a pattern of illegal activity, reach $500,000 and imprisonment for 10 years.
Update 2017 – With over 10 years of experience in filing FBARs and helping those with unfiled FBARs, we've learned a lot. Read updated commonly asked FBAR questions here.
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