As a US expat, the June 16 tax filing deadline might not be the only date sneaking up on you. According to the IRS, if you have “any financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account,“ you are required to comply with FBAR (Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) regulations. The FBAR specifically applies to those individuals who had more than $10,000 in a foreign account at any time during the previous year.
Based on the criteria outlined here, qualifying US expats must complete FinCEN Form 114 by June 30 each year. Unlike your income tax filings, there are no extensions granted for the FBAR.
Filing the FBAR
Beginning July 1, 2013, all forms will need to be submitted electronically. Individuals who wish to avoid the paperwork for this year’s filing can already do so through the electronic filing system.
Penalties for Failing to File
If you fail to file the FBAR, civil, criminal or both types of penalties could ensue. Those who did not file in past years can complete FBAR forms along with a written explanation describing why the forms were filed late. If the IRS determines late filing were reasonable, there will be no penalties.