FBARs and Polish Lokata Accounts

In recent years, I have received a number of questions from my Polish clients about whether “lokata” accounts are reportable on the FBARs. The short answer is “Yes”.

Lokata Accounts

Lokata is a fixed-term deposit account which is very common in Polish banks; a lokata is very similar to U.S. CD-type of accounts. There are many types of lokatas – overnight, three-month, six-month and even twelve-month lokatas. Usually, the bank would automatically take the funds from a current account (so-called “rachunek biezacy”) and deposit it on the lokata at a certain fixed percent. At the end of the lokata period, the lokata is closed by the bank and the balance with interest (minus automatic 19% tax withholding for non-business accounts) is returned to the current account.

All major Polish banks (e.g. DZ Bank and Bank Zchodni WBK S.A.) offer lokatas to their clients.

Lokata and FBAR Complications

Every time lokata is opened, it is assigned a separate account number. For the purposes of the FBAR, it is a bank account which should be reported on the FBAR separately from the current accounts (contrary to some of the widely-held beliefs among U.S. taxpayers living and working in Poland).

So far, this sounds fairly simple. However, there are serious complications with respect to reporting lokata accounts on the FBAR. First, most current bank account statements are not likely to fully identify lokata accounts.

Second, even where a lokata is identified by a separate number, you still need to make sure that the amount shown on the statements actually reflects the gross amount (i.e. before tax withholding). Usually, it would not and you will need to request the bank to supply a separate bank statement for each lokata and keep track of all gross interest and withholding tax amounts.

Third, the sheer number of lokata accounts can be overwhelming. While there are may be renewable long-term lokatas, oftentimes, it is the opposite. The problem with short-term lokatas is that they terminate once the funds with interest are returned to the current account. This means that a new lokata account is likely to be open every time a new deposit is made. Imagine if a new lokata is opened every week, every three days or every day?! This can be an extremely burdensome requirement for U.S. taxpayers who maintain bank accounts in Poland.

Other problems may arise where the taxpayer needs records for prior years, a lokata is opened in one year and is closed in the following year, et cetera.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help with Reporting Undisclosed Lokata Accounts

If you have undisclosed bank and financial accounts in Poland, contact Sherayzen Law Office for help with your voluntary disclosure. Our team of experienced international tax professionals will thoroughly analyze your case, estimate your current potential FBAR liabilities, propose a solution to your FBAR problems, and implement your voluntary disclosure plan, including preparation of all required legal documents and tax forms.