Do You Need To File An FBAR?

So you included Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets, with your 2013 federal income tax return to report your interests in certain foreign financial accounts. Do you also need to file a separate Treasury Department report known as the FBAR? This report is easy to overlook, since it’s not an IRS form and has special filing requirements.

Here’s an overview.

  • What’s an FBAR? FBAR is the short name for Form 114, “Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.” You use the FBAR to report your individual or joint financial interest in, or signature authority over, a financial account in a foreign country — in some cases even if you have included Form 8938 with your federal income tax return. Filing an FBAR is generally required when the aggregate value of your foreign accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. Because the account value triggers the filing requirement, you may need to file an FBAR even if your foreign account generates no taxable income. Note: Form 114 is new for 2013. It replaces Form 90-22.1, which was used in prior years.
  • What are foreign financial accounts? Financial accounts include deposit and custodial accounts, such as stocks, securities, and mutual funds you hold at foreign financial institutions or foreign branches of U.S. financial institutions. You don’t have to include financial accounts held at a U.S. branch of a foreign financial institution, or foreign real estate or personal property you own directly.
  • When is the FBAR due? Form 114, which you and your spouse can file jointly to report your 2013 foreign accounts and assets, must be submitted electronically by June 30, 2014. No extension of time is available, though you can amend an incorrect return after the initial filing.

While there’s no tax due with the FBAR, failure to file can lead to penalties. If you overlooked the filing requirement in prior years, please contact our office. We’ll help you get caught up.