All of Your FBAR Questions Answered

You have Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR) Q’s; we’ve got A’s! You may be wondering: when is the FBAR due? We’ve answered this and many more common questions about FBARs. Read on to find out everything expats need to know.

How Do I Know If I Need to File FBAR?

All expats with $10,000 or more in a foreign bank or financial account at any point during the calendar year will be required to file FBARs. Please note that this threshold refers to cumulative balances, so if you have $3,000 in four separate accounts, you will be required to file the FBAR.

What Time Period Does FBAR Reporting Cover?

FBARs should cover each calendar year, just like the American tax year, from January 1st-December 31st.

Should I Report My Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)?

Though we wish the answer were straightforward, unfortunately, it is not. Although many feel RRSPs don’t need to be reported, the most conservative approach would be to report it on the FBAR if you can access and withdraw the funds at any point. Note that question eight of the Schedule B says, “During 2017, did you receive a distribution from, or were you the grantor of, or transferor to, a foreign trust?” If the answer is yes, you may have to file Form 3520 since RRSPs are often considered foreign trusts.

When Is The FBAR Due?

FBAR is due April 15th (April 17th in 2018) with an automatic extension to October 15th available.

Do I Need to Report My Foreign Pension on the FBAR?

There is a little wiggle room depending on how your pension is set up, but typically the answer is yes. The FBAR requires you to report all financial accounts, and pensions are often considered financial accounts.

How Does FBAR Differ From FATCA Form 8938?

Though they collect a lot of the same information, there are some important differences between FBAR and FATCA. For instance, the thresholds differ greatly. For FATCA, unmarried individuals (or those who file MFS) must file if the total value of assets is more than $200,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $300,000 at any time during the year. For married individuals, if the total value of assets is more than $400,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $600,000 at any time during the year, they must file. The FBAR threshold is listed above. FBAR is reported to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, while FATCA is reported to the IRS. And remember: just because you are required to submit one form does not mean you are required to submit both!

Have More Questions About FBAR?

If you have a question specific to your situation, don’t hesitate to reach out! The Greenback experts are happy to help you find the answer.

Free Guide: 25 Things Every Expat Needs to Know About Taxes

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