Posts

FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination | FBAR Tax Lawyer & Attorney

Determination of the FBAR maximum account value is a problem with which every FBAR filer has to deal. In this article, I would like to provide the main guidelines for the determination of the FBAR maximum account value.

FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination: Background Information

The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts or FBAR requires each filer to disclose his financial interest in or signatory authority or any other authority over foreign bank and financial accounts to the IRS. As part of this disclosure, the filer must calculate and report the maximum account value for each of his foreign accounts on his FBAR.

FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination: Definition of Highest Value

FinCEN defines the maximum value of an account for FBAR purposes as “a reasonable approximation of the greatest value of currency or nonmonetary assets in the account during the calendar year.” In other words, the IRS does not expect you to always get the highest possible value. A reasonable approximation of this value will do if the exact highest value is not possible to determine.

FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination: Usual Problems

There are two main problems that each FBAR filer faces whenever he tries to identify the maximum account value for FBAR purposes. The first and most obvious problem is the determination of the highest account value. How does one determine the highest value for a bank account? What about a securities account where stocks fluctuate all the time? What about a precious metals account which has investments in different precious metals?

Second, FBAR requires that all amounts be stated in US dollars. Hence, an issue arises with respect to proper currency conversion – i.e. what is the proper currency exchange rate? Should the spot rates be used? Or December 31 exchange rates?

Let’s discuss each of these problems in more depth.

FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination: Methodology

Determination of maximum account value depends to a certain degree on the type of an account for which the filer is trying to determine this value. There is no question that, with respect to checking and savings bank accounts, the IRS wants you to use the full-year statements to determine the day on which the highest value was achieved for each of these accounts. This is a simple and effective method.

Determining the maximum value of a securities account is much harder, because securities fluctuate on a daily basis. For this reason, the IRS allows you to rely on periodic account statements to make this determination, especially end-of-year statements. This method is allowed only as long as the statements fairly approximate the maximum value during the calendar year.

Even this method, however, is often insufficient when one deals with mixed-currency accounts, mixed-investment accounts, mixed-metal accounts, et cetera. These situations should be handled on a case-by-case basis by your international tax attorney.

Let’s illustrate the complexity of the issues involved here by a relatively simple example. Generally, an end-of-year statement for an investment account is a good approximation of the maximum value of the account. If, however, there was a withdrawal of funds from the account following a major sale of investments, then the end-of-year statement cannot be relied upon. Instead, one should try a different method to approximate the highest value. One possibility is to use a reliable and known financial website for valuing the remaining assets on the date of the sale plus the proceeds from the sale of investments. The method, however, may fail if the highest value of investments was at the beginning of the year, not the date of sale.

FBAR Maximum Account Value Determination: Currency Conversion

Unlike the identification of the highest account value with its various complications, the currency conversation part of the FBAR maximum account value determination is fairly straightforward. All filers must use the end-of-year FBAR rates published by the Treasury Department. These rates are officially called “Treasury Financial Management Service rates”, but they are commonly called “FBAR rates” by US international tax lawyers. The FBAR rates are division rates, not the multiplication ones. This is standard in US international tax law.

Hence, for the currency conversion purposes, you need to identify the currency in which your account is nominated, find the appropriate FBAR conversion rate for the relevant year and divide your highest balance by the relevant FBAR rate. For your convenience, Sherayzen Law Office also publishes FBAR rates on its website.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Your FBAR Preparation

If you are required to file FBARs, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers to comply with their FBAR obligations, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

2018 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates | FBAR Tax Lawyer & Attorney

2018 FBAR and 2018 Form 8938 instructions both require that 2018 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates be used to report the required highest balances of foreign financial assets on these forms. In the case of 2018 Form 8938, the 2018 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates is the default choice, not an exclusive one.

The U.S. Department of Treasury  already published the 2018 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates online (they are called “Treasury’s Financial Management Service rates” or the “FMS rates”).

Since the 2018 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates are very important to US taxpayers, international tax lawyers and international tax accountants, Sherayzen Law Office provides the table below listing the official 2018 FBAR Currency Conversion Rates (note that the readers still need to refer to the official website for any updates).

 

Country – Currency

Foreign Currency to $1.00

AFGHANISTAN – AFGHANI

74.576

ALBANIA – LEK

107.05

ALGERIA – DINAR

117.898

ANGOLA – KWANZA

310.0000

ANTIGUA – BARBUDA – E. CARIBBEAN DOLLAR

2.7000

ARGENTINA – PESO

37.642

ARMENIA – DRAM

485.0000

AUSTRALIA – DOLLAR

1.4160

AUSTRIA – EURO

0.8720

AZERBAIJAN – NEW MANAT

1.7000

BAHAMAS – DOLLAR

1.0000

BAHRAIN – DINAR

0.3770

BANGLADESH – TAKA

84.0000

BARBADOS – DOLLAR

2.0200

BELARUS – NEW RUBLE

2.1600

BELGIUM – EURO

0.8720

BELIZE – DOLLAR

2.0000

BENIN – CFA FRANC

568.6500

BERMUDA – DOLLAR

1.0000

BOLIVIA – BOLIVIANO

6.8500

BOSNIA – MARKA

1.7060

BOTSWANA – PULA

10.6610

BRAZIL – REAL

3.8800

BRUNEI – DOLLAR

1.3610

BULGARIA – LEV

1.7070

BURKINA FASO – CFA FRANC

568.6500

BURUNDI – FRANC

1790.0000

CAMBODIA (KHMER) – RIEL

4103.0000

CAMEROON – CFA FRANC

603.8700

CANADA – DOLLAR

1.3620

CAPE VERDE – ESCUDO

94.8800

CAYMAN ISLANDS – DOLLAR

0.8200

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – CFA FRANC

603.8700

CHAD – CFA FRANC

603.8700

CHILE – PESO

693.0800

CHINA – RENMINBI

6.8760

COLOMBIA – PESO

3245.8000

COMOROS – FRANC

428.1400

CONGO, DEM. REP – CONGOLESE FRANC

1630.0000

COSTA RICA – COLON

603.5000

COTE D’IVOIRE – CFA FRANC

568.6500

CROATIA – KUNA

6.3100

CUBA – PESO

1.0000

CYPRUS – EURO

0.8720

CZECH REPUBLIC – KORUNA

21.9410

DENMARK – KRONE

6.5170

DJIBOUTI – FRANC

177.0000

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – PESO

49.9400

ECUADOR – DOLARES

1.0000

EGYPT – POUND

17.8900

EL SALVADOR – DOLARES

1.0000

EQUATORIAL GUINEA – CFA FRANC

603.8700

ERITREA – NAKFA

15.0000

ESTONIA – EURO

0.8720

ETHIOPIA – BIRR

28.0400

EURO ZONE – EURO

0.8720

FIJI – DOLLAR

2.1080

FINLAND – EURO

0.8720

FRANCE – EURO

0.8720

GABON – CFA FRANC

603.8700

GAMBIA – DALASI

50.0000

GEORGIA – LARI

2.6700

GERMANY – EURO

0.8720

GHANA – CEDI

4.8250

GREECE – EURO

0.8720

GRENADA – EAST CARIBBEAN DOLLAR

2.7000

GUATEMALA – QUENTZAL

7.7150

GUINEA – FRANC

9076.0000

GUINEA BISSAU – CFA FRANC

568.6500

GUYANA – DOLLAR

215.0000

HAITI – GOURDE

77.1180

HONDURAS – LEMPIRA

25.0000

HONG KONG – DOLLAR

7.8320

HUNGARY – FORINT

280.1700

ICELAND – KRONA

116.1100

INDIA – RUPEE

69.8000

INDONESIA – RUPIAH

14440.0000

IRAN – RIAL

42000.0000

IRAQ – DINAR

1138.0000

IRELAND – EURO

0.8720

ISRAEL – SHEKEL

3.7490

ITALY – EURO

0.8720

JAMAICA – DOLLAR

126.0000

JAPAN – YEN

109.8500

JERUSALEM – SHEKEL

3.7490

JORDAN – DINAR

0.7080

KAZAKHSTAN – TENGE

375.1500

KENYA – SHILLING

101.8000

KOREA – WON

1114.4900

KOSOVO – EURO

0.8720

KUWAIT – DINAR

0.3030

KYRGYZSTAN – SOM

69.8000

LAOS – KIP

8535.0000

LATVIA – EURO

0.8720

LEBANON – POUND

1500.0000

LESOTHO – SOUTH AFRICAN RAND

14.3500

LIBERIA – DOLLAR

156.7100

LIBYA – DINAR

1.3860

LITHUANIA – EURO

0.8720

LUXEMBOURG – EURO

0.8720

MACAO – MOP

no listing

MACEDONIA FYROM – DENAR

53.5000

MADAGASCAR – ARIARY

3470.2000

MALAWI – KWACHA

733.0000

MALAYSIA – RINGGIT

4.1300

MALI – CFA FRANC

568.6500

MALTA – EURO

0.8720

MARSHALL ISLANDS – DOLLAR

1.0000

MARTINIQUE – EURO

0.8720

MAURITANIA – OUGUIYA

36.0000

MAURITIUS – RUPEE

34.1500

MEXICO – PESO

19.6540

MICRONESIA – DOLLAR

1.0000

MOLDOVA – LEU

16.9930

MONGOLIA – TUGRIK

2642.9200

MONTENEGRO – EURO

0.8720

MOROCCO – DIRHAM

9.5300

MOZAMBIQUE – METICAL

61.5300

MYANMAR – KYAT

1535.0000

NAMIBIA – DOLLAR

14.3500

NEPAL – RUPEE

111.6000

NETHERLANDS – EURO

0.8720

NETHERLANDS ANTILLES – GUILDER

1.7800

NEW ZEALAND – DOLLAR

1.4900

NICARAGUA – CORDOBA

32.3000

NIGER – CFA FRANC

568.6500

NIGERIA – NAIRA

361.0000

NORWAY – KRONE

8.6800

OMAN – RIAL

0.3850

PAKISTAN – RUPEE

138.6000

PALAU – DOLLAR

1.0000

PANAMA – BALBOA

1.0000

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – KINA

3.2840

PARAGUAY – GUARANI

5956.0000

PERU – NUEVO SOL

3.3750

PHILIPPINES – PESO

52.4900

POLAND – ZLOTY

3.7530

PORTUGAL – EURO

0.8720

QATAR – RIYAL

3.6400

ROMANIA – NEW LEU

4.0690

RUSSIA – RUBLE

69.6800

RWANDA – FRANC

890.0000

SAO TOME & PRINCIPE – NEW DOBRAS

21.5350

SAO TOME & PRINCIPE – DOBRAS

20941.0080

SAUDI ARABIA – RIYAL

3.7500

SENEGAL – CFA FRANC

568.6500

SERBIA – DINAR

103.3900

SEYCHELLES – RUPEE

13.5500

SIERRA LEONE – LEONE

8620.0000

SINGAPORE – DOLLAR

1.3610

SLOVAK REPUBLIC – EURO

0.8720

SLOVENIA – EURO

0.8720

SOLOMON ISLANDS – DOLLAR

7.7520

SOMALI – SHILLING

575.0000

SOUTH AFRICA – RAND

14.3500

SOUTH SUDANESE – POUND

153.7000

SPAIN – EURO

0.8720

SRI LANKA – RUPEE

182.6000

ST LUCIA – EC DOLLAR

2.7000

SUDAN – SUDANESE POUND

47.0000

SURINAME – GUILDER

7.5200

SWAZILAND – LILANGENI

14.3500

SWEDEN – KRONA

8.9380

SWITZERLAND – FRANC

0.9840

SYRIA – POUND

515.0000

TAIWAN – DOLLAR

30.5880

TAJIKISTAN – SOMONI

9.3500

TANZANIA – SHILLING

2295.0000

THAILAND – BAHT

32.3500

TIMOR – LESTE DILI

1.0000

TOGO – CFA FRANC

568.6500

TONGA – PA’ANGA

2.1730

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – DOLLAR

6.7700

TUNISIA – DINAR

3.0090

TURKEY – LIRA

5.2830

TURKMENISTAN – NEW MANAT

3.4910

UGANDA – SHILLING

3705.0000

UKRAINE – HRYVNIA

27.7000

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – DIRHAM

3.6730

UNITED KINGDOM – POUND STERLING

0.7810

URUGUAY – PESO

32.3200

UZBEKISTAN – SOM

8310.0000

VANUATU – VATU

111.6900

VENEZUELA – BOLIVAR – SOBERANO

563.9800

VENEZUELA – BOLIVAR – FUERTE

248832.0000

VIETNAM – DONG

23190.0000

WESTERN SAMOA – TALA

2.5350

YEMEN – RIAL

480.0000

ZAMBIA – NEW KWACHA

11.9000

ZIMBABWE – DOLLAR

1.0000

2017 FBAR Deadline | FinCEN Form 114 FBAR Lawyer & Attorney

FinCEN recently confirmed the 2017 FBAR deadline and the automatic extension option.

2017 FBAR Deadline: FBAR Background

FinCEN Form 114, the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, is commonly known as FBAR.  US taxpayers should use this form to report their financial interest in or signatory authority over foreign financial accounts. Failure to timely file the FBAR may result in the imposition of draconian FBAR penalties.

2017 FBAR Deadline: Traditional FBAR Deadline

Prior to 2016 FBAR, the taxpayers had to file their FBARs for each relevant calendar year by June 30 of the following year. No filings extensions were allowed. The last FBAR that followed this deadline was 2015 FBAR (its due date was June 30, 2016).

2017 FBAR Deadline: Changes to FBAR Deadline Starting 2016 FBAR

The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (the “Act”) changed the FBAR deadline starting with 2016 FBAR.  Section 2006(b)(11) of the Act requires the FBARs to be filed by the due date of that year’s tax return (i.e. usually April 15), not June 30.

Furthermore, during the transition period, the IRS granted to US taxpayers an automatic extension of the FBAR filing deadline to October 15. The taxpayers do not need to make any specific requests in order for extension to be granted.

In other words, starting 2016 FBAR, the Act adjusted the FBAR due date to coincide with the federal income tax filing deadlines. Moreover, the new FBAR filing deadline will follow to the letter the federal income tax due date guidance. The federal income tax due date guidance states that, in situations where the tax return due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the IRS must delay the due date until the next business day.

2017 FBAR Deadline

Based on the new law, the 2017 FBAR deadline will be April 17, 2018 (same as 2017 income tax return due date). If a taxpayer does not file his 2017 FBAR by April 17, 2018, then the IRS will automatically grant an extension until October 15, 2018. Failure to file 2017 FBAR by October 15, 2018, may result in the imposition of FBAR civil and criminal penalties.

2018 FBAR Criminal Penalties | FBAR Lawyer & Attorney

2018 FBAR criminal penalties should be on the mind of any US taxpayer who willfully failed to file his FBARs or knowingly filed a false FBAR. In this essay, I would like to do an overview of the 2018 FBAR criminal penalties that these noncompliant US taxpayers may have to face.

2018 FBAR Criminal Penalties: Background Information

A lot of US taxpayers do not understand why the 2018 FBAR criminal penalties are so shockingly high. These taxpayers question why failing to file a form that has nothing do with income tax calculation should potentially result in a jail sentence.

The answer to this questions lies in the legislative history of FBAR. First of all, it is important to understand that FBAR is not a tax form. The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”) was born in 1970 out of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”), in particular 31 U.S.C. §5314. This means that the initial primary purpose of the form was to fight financial crimes, money laundering and terrorism. In other words, FBAR was not created as a tool against tax evasion.

Hence, the FBAR penalties were structured from the very beginning for the purpose of punishing criminals engaged in financial crimes and/or terrorism. This is why the FBAR penalties are so severe and easily surpass the penalties of any tax form.

It was only 30 years later, after the enaction of The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (the “USA Patriot Act”), that the enforcement of FBAR was turned over to the IRS. The IRS almost immediately commenced using FBAR to fight the tax evasion schemes that utilized offshore accounts.

The Congress liked the IRS initiative and responded with the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (“2004 Jobs Act”). The 2004 Jobs Act further increased the FBAR penalties, including the creation of the non-willful penalty of up to $10,000 per violation.

2018 FBAR Criminal Penalties: Description

Now that we understand why the 2018 FBAR criminal penalties are so severe, let’s describe what they penalties actually look like. There are three different 2018 FBAR criminal penalties associated with different FBAR violations.

The first criminal penalty may be imposed under 26 U.S.C. 5322(a) and 31 C.F.R. § 103.59(b) for willful failure to file FBAR or retain records of a foreign account. The penalty is up to $250,000 or 5 years in prison or both.

When the willful failure to file FBAR is combined with a violation of other US laws or the failure to file FBAR is “part of a pattern of any illegal activity involving more than $100,000 in a 12-month period”, then the IRS has the option of imposing a criminal penalty under 26 U.S.C. 5322(b) and 31 C.F.R. § 103.59(c). In this case, the penalty jumps to incredible $500,000 or 10 years in prison or both.

Finally, if a person willingly and knowingly files a false, fictitious or fraudulent FBAR, he is subject to the penalty under 31 C.F.R. § 103.59(d). The penalty in this case may be $10,000 or 5 years or both.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help With Past FBAR Violations

If you were required to file an FBAR but you have not done it, you need to contact Sherayzen Law Office as soon as possible to explore your voluntary disclosure options. Our international tax law firm specializes in FBAR compliance and we have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to bring their US tax affairs into full compliance with US tax laws while reducing and, in some cases, eliminating their FBAR penalties.

We can help You! Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!