Too many topics, too little time. Sorry for the long blog-silence.
I may not be writing here as much, but I am 'sharing' - at my Facebook company page. If you’re interested, you’ll find some of my shared news clippings on Facebook at “EdvensonConsulting.” Welcome to my Facebook page! And please, if you visit, ‘Like’ me! Follow me! You’ll enjoy it! And if you don’t, you can always unlike me . . . or unfollow me . . . or however that works.
Today’s topic is: the new e-filed FBAR form. This is the Foreign Bank Accounts Report form (FBAR for short). And it is now January, 2014.
Yes, you too can manage to file this form. Just say it: “I can do this!” Yes, you, American abroad who has not told the U.S. government about your foreign bank accounts, which basically make it possible for you to live the modern life in whatever country you live in. But also yes, you, American surfer dude who lives in Miami and keeps what he thinks are his own secret bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, or Antigua or another of the world’s thankfully but slowly disappearing tax havens, where he sends his profits from whatever he does for money, and therefore tries to hide it from U.S. taxation, which frankly makes all Americans the poorer. And this is not to mention all the other types of Americans who think they’re getting away with something, which makes us all the poorer.
The IRS and U.S. Department of Treasury have, as you may know, gone from permitting FBAR filings on paper to ONLY permitting FBAR filings ONLINE. This is a challenge for the online-challenged. First, then, you should plan to map out all your entries on paper – why not? The details needed are your accounts, the highest amounts in them during any particular year, and the currency type, bank name, address, etc.
This form is no longer called the TDF 90-22.1 but is called the FinCEN Form 114. This stands for: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Form 114. . . . even though the form itself is still entitled, “Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.” Therefore, do NOT be scared off by this: it is obviously a reflection of the fact that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network would like to take credit for Form 114, and NOT that you are in some kind of trouble!
At this page, they tell you to first (1) fill out the form, and then second (2) file the form online.
When you click through to see the form, you will see the usual-looking FBAR form.
Save this form to your computer. Then you can open it up and fill it out by typing onto it. Save your typed-on draft(s) with new names - to your computer in a folder – (don’t keep typing onto the form online without saving it) so you always save your work - until you are finished listing your accounts. Then save your final ‘hard file’ version on your PC.
Generally, all the same requirements apply to the online form as to the offline form of the past. Any American with values equivalent to $10,000 in any combination of bank and financial accounts in any given year – during the current or prior 6 years, must file, going back (for each applicable year) 6 prior years. The forms are due to be filed by June 30th of the year after the year of the report, so 2013 FBAR reports are due to be filed by June 30, 2014.
And here, if you want your hand held, go see some videos:
If you want further assistance, you can contact the IRS directly at their FBAR help line, which, if the information online is still correct is at the phone number: (800)800-2877. I have heard good reports from clients who spoke to agency staff by phone.
As I always tell my clients, try to ‘enjoy’ doing the FBAR reports – think of it as a secretarial job, which is what it is. Also, it’s not just part of enjoying being in compliance with the law, but part of contributing to the infrastructure and services that a civil society can provide.
If you need assistance with your out-of-country U.S. IRS individual personal income tax return (also known as 'the 1040'), feel free to call or write me – that’s one of my consultancy’s services.