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FBAR: Purpose and penalties

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2023 | Tax Law

Filing taxes isn’t just about reporting domestic income. For many people, having international ties means there’s an added layer of reporting involved that might not be immediately apparent.

One such requirement is the Foreign Bank Account Report, commonly known as FBAR. This report ensures transparency and compliance for those with overseas financial interests.

FBAR explained in simple terms

The Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report is a filing requirement for U.S. persons, including citizens, residents and entities, who have financial interests or authority over foreign financial accounts exceeding $10,000 at any point during the calendar year.

Penalties can be steep for non-compliance

The consequences can be significant for those who don’t file or improperly file the FBAR. Penalties are categorized based on the nature of the violation. For example:

If you didn’t know about the FBAR requirement and failed to file, it’s termed as a non-willful violation. Even so, the penalty can be up to $10,000 per violation, which quickly adds up if multiple years of non-compliance exist.

If you knowingly avoided the FBAR filing, it’s a willful violation. Penalties for this can be the greater of $100,000 or 50% of the balance in the unreported foreign account per violation. Willful violators can also face criminal prosecution.

Understanding FBAR and its implications is crucial for those with foreign financial ties. While this offers a basic overview, always ensure you’re fully informed to avoid unexpected complications. Working with someone familiar with this reporting requirement is beneficial for anyone with international ties. Be sure to find out more if you are unsure whether it applies to you.