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Report of Foreign Bank & Financial Accounts - FBAR

Posted by Tom Henell on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 @ 09:46 AM

If you own or have authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, unit trust, or other types of financial accounts, you may be required to report the account yearly to the Internal Revenue Service. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, each United States person must file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), if;

  • The person has a financial interest in, or signature authority (or other authority that is comparable to signature authority) over one or more accounts in a foreign country and
  • The aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

The FBAR is required because foreign financial institutions may not be subject to the same reporting requirements as domestic financial institutions. The FBAR is a tool to help the United States government identify persons who may be using foreign financial accounts to circumvent United States law. Investigators use FBARs to help identify or trace funds used for illicit purposes or to identify unreported income maintained or generated abroad.

The IRS has announced a new 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative that runs through Aug. 31, 2011. For more more information about the special the 2011 initiative, visit (2011 OVDI landing page). For questions and answers about the 2011 program, visit (FAQ page link)

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Tags: accountants, cpas, fbar, tax