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2020 FBAR Conversion Rates | FBAR Tax Lawyer & Attorney

The 2020 FBAR conversion rates are highly important in US international tax compliance. The 2020 FBAR and 2020 Form 8938 instructions both require that 2020 FBAR conversion rates be used to report the required highest balances of foreign financial assets on these forms (in the case of Form 8938, the 2020 FBAR conversion rates is the default choice, not an exclusive one). In other words, the 2020 FBAR conversion rates are used to translate foreign-currency highest balances into US dollars for the purposes of FBAR and Form 8938 compliance.

The U.S. Department of Treasury  already published the 2020 FBAR conversion rates online (they are called “Treasury’s Financial Management Service rates” or the “FMS rates”).

Since the 2020 FBAR conversion rates are highly important to US taxpayers, international tax lawyers and international tax accountants, Sherayzen Law Office provides the table below listing the official 2020 FBAR 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 – AFGHANI77.0900
ALBANIA – LEK100.3500
ALGERIA – DINAR132.2120
ANGOLA – KWANZA649.6000
ANTIGUA – BARBUDA – E. CARIBBEAN DOLLAR2.7000
ARGENTINA – PESO89.2500
ARMENIA – DRAM515.0000
AUSTRALIA – DOLLAR1.2940
AUSTRIA – EURO0.8150
AZERBAIJAN – NEW MANAT1.7000
BAHAMAS – DOLLAR1.0000
BAHRAIN – DINAR0.3770
BANGLADESH – TAKA85.0000
BARBADOS – DOLLAR2.0200
BELARUS – NEW RUBLE2.5980
BELGIUM – EURO0.8150
BELIZE – DOLLAR2.0000
BENIN – CFA FRANC529.0000
BERMUDA – DOLLAR1.0000
BOLIVIA – BOLIVIANO6.8100
BOSNIA – MARKA1.5940
BOTSWANA – PULA10.7990
BRAZIL – REAL5.1940
BRUNEI – DOLLAR1.3220
BULGARIA – LEV1.5940
BURKINA FASO – CFA FRANC529.0000
BURMA-KYAT1,326.0000
BURUNDI – FRANC1,930.6100
CAMBODIA (KHMER) – RIEL4,051.0000
CAMEROON – CFA FRANC529.2600
CANADA – DOLLAR1.2750
CAPE VERDE – ESCUDO89.8300
CAYMAN ISLANDS – DOLLAR0.8200
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – CFA FRANC529.2600
CHAD – CFA FRANC529.2600
CHILE – PESO709.7500
CHINA – RENMINBI6.5400
COLOMBIA – PESO3,414.5000
COMOROS – FRANC400.6200
CONGO – CFA FRANC529.2600
COSTA RICA – COLON609.1000
COTE D’IVOIRE – CFA FRANC529.0000
CROATIA – KUNA5.9500
CUBA – Chavito1.0000
CYPRUS – EURO0.8150
CZECH REPUBLIC – KORUNA20.7540
DEM. REP. OF CONGO – FRANC1,966.4800
DENMARK – KRONE6.0650
DJIBOUTI – FRANC177.0000
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – PESO58.1400
ECUADOR – DOLARES1.0000
EGYPT – POUND15.6900
EL SALVADOR – DOLARES1.0000
EQUATORIAL GUINEA – CFA FRANC529.2600
ERITREA – NAKFA15.0000
ESTONIA – EURO0.8150
ETHIOPIA – BIRR39.1810
EURO ZONE – EURO0.8150
FIJI – DOLLAR2.0040
FINLAND – EURO0.8150
FRANCE – EURO0.8150
GABON – CFA FRANC529.2600
GAMBIA – DALASI52.0000
GEORGIA – LARI3.2700
GERMANY – EURO0.8150
GHANA – CEDI5.8100
GREECE – EURO0.8150
GRENADA – EAST CARIBBEAN DOLLAR2.7000
GUATEMALA – QUENTZAL7.7800
GUINEA BISSAU – CFA FRANC529.0000
GUINEA – FRANC9,990.0000
GUYANA – DOLLAR215.0000
HAITI – GOURDE71.6060
HONDURAS – LEMPIRA25.0000
HONG KONG – DOLLAR7.7530
HUNGARY – FORINT296.7600
ICELAND – KRONA127.1100
INDIA – RUPEE73.0340
INDONESIA – RUPIAH14,028.0000
IRAN – RIAL42,000.0000
IRAQ – DINAR1,138.0000
IRELAND – EURO0.8150
ISRAEL – SHEKEL3.2130
ITALY – EURO0.8150
JAMAICA – DOLLAR150.0000
JAPAN – YEN103.0800
JORDAN – DINAR0.7080
KAZAKHSTAN – TENGE421.2700
KENYA – SHILLING109.1000
KOREA – WON1,087.6600
KOSOVO – EURO0.8150
KUWAIT – DINAR0.3040
KYRGYZSTAN – SOM82.6500
LAOS – KIP9,280.0000
LATVIA – EURO0.8150
LEBANON – POUND1,500.0000
LESOTHO – MALOTI14.6730
LIBERIA – DOLLAR163.0000
LIBYA – DINAR1.3330
LITHUANIA – EURO0.8150
LUXEMBOURG – EURO0.8150
MADAGASCAR – ARIARY3,824.8000
MALAWI – KWACHA820.0000
MALAYSIA – RINGGIT4.0200
MALDIVES – RUFIYAA15.4200
MALI – CFA FRANC529.0000
MALTA – EURO0.8150
MARSHALL ISLANDS – DOLLAR1.0000
MARTINIQUE – EURO0.8150
MAURITANIA – OUGUIYA37.0000
MAURITIUS – RUPEE39.5500
MEXICO – PESO19.9130
MICRONESIA – DOLLAR1.0000
MOLDOVA – LEU17.0800
MONGOLIA – TUGRIK2,849.7700
MONTENEGRO – EURO0.8150
MOROCCO – DIRHAM8.9170
MOZAMBIQUE – METICAL 74.2000
NAMIBIA – DOLLAR14.6730
NEPAL – RUPEE117.0000
NETHERLANDS – EURO0.8150
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES – GUILDER1.7800
NEW ZEALAND – DOLLAR1.3830
NICARAGUA – CORDOBA34.9000
NIGER – CFA FRANC529.0000
NIGERIA – NAIRA385.0000
NORWAY – KRONE8.5300
OMAN – RIAL0.3850
PAKISTAN – RUPEE159.7500
PANAMA – BALBOA1.0000
PANAMA – DOLARES1.0000
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – KINA3.5090
PARAGUAY – GUARANI6,891.9600
PERU – SOL3.6190
PHILIPPINES – PESO48.1730
POLAND – ZLOTY3.7130
PORTUGAL – EURO0.8150
QATAR – RIYAL3.6400
REP. OF N MACEDONIA – DINAR50.1300
REPUBLIC OF PALAU – DOLLAR1.0000
ROMANIA – NEW LEU 3.9660
RUSSIA – RUBLE74.4600
RWANDA – FRANC950.0000
SAO TOME & PRINCIPE – NEW DOBRAS20.0510
SAUDI ARABIA – RIYAL3.7500
SENEGAL – CFA FRANC529.0000
SERBIA – DINAR95.8000
SEYCHELLES – RUPEE20.9100
SIERRA LEONE – LEONE9,997.0000
SINGAPORE – DOLLAR1.3220
SLOVAK REPUBLIC – EURO0.8150
SLOVENIA – EURO0.8150
SOLOMON ISLANDS – DOLLAR7.7340
SOMALI – SHILLING575.0000
SOUTH AFRICA – RAND14.6730
SOUTH SUDANESE – POUND177.0000
SPAIN – EURO0.8150
SRI LANKA – RUPEE185.0000
ST LUCIA – E CARIBBEAN DOLLAR2.7000
SUDAN – SUDANESE POUND55.0000
SURINAME – GUILDER14.2900
SWAZILAND – LANGENI14.6730
SWEDEN – KRONA8.1720
SWITZERLAND – FRANC0.8810
SYRIA – POUND1,256.0000
TAIWAN – DOLLAR28.0740
TAJIKISTAN – SOMONI11.3250
TANZANIA – SHILLING2,314.0000
THAILAND – BAHT29.9200
TIMOR – LESTE DILI1.0000
TOGO – CFA FRANC529.0000
TONGA – PA’ANGA2.1980
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – DOLLAR6.6980
TUNISIA – DINAR2.6830
TURKEY – LIRA7.4240
TURKMENISTAN – NEW MANAT3.4910
UGANDA – SHILLING3,649.0000
UKRAINE – HRYVNIA28.3000
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – DIRHAM3.6730
UNITED KINGDOM – POUND STERLING0.7320
URUGUAY – PESO42.1400
UZBEKISTAN – SOM10,471.9200
VANUATU – VATU106.2300
VENEZUELA – BOLIVAR SOBERANO1,104,430.5870
VENEZUELA – FUERTE (OLD)248,832.0000
VIETNAM – DONG23,070.0000
WESTERN SAMOA – TALA2.4440
YEMEN – RIAL480.0000
ZAMBIA – NEW KWACHA21.1400
ZIMBABWE – RTGS79.7420

2019 FBAR Conversion Rates | FBAR Tax Lawyer & Attorney

The 2019 FBAR conversion rates are highly important in US international tax compliance. The 2019 FBAR and 2019 Form 8938 instructions both require that 2019 FBAR conversion rates be used to report the required highest balances of foreign financial assets on these forms (in the case of Form 8938, the 2019 FBAR conversion rates is the default choice, not an exclusive one). In other words, the 2019 FBAR conversion rates are used to translate foreign-currency highest balances into US dollars for the purposes of FBAR and Form 8938 compliance.

The U.S. Department of Treasury  already published the 2019 FBAR conversion rates online (they are called “Treasury’s Financial Management Service rates” or the “FMS rates”).

Since the 2019 FBAR conversion rates are highly important to US taxpayers, international tax lawyers and international tax accountants, Sherayzen Law Office provides the table below listing the official 2019 FBAR 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 – AFGHANI77.6250
ALBANIA – LEK108.2100
ALGERIA – DINAR118.7800
ANGOLA – KWANZA475.0000
ANTIGUA – BARBUDA – E. CARIBBEAN DOLLAR2.7000
ARGENTINA – PESO59.8700
ARMENIA – DRAM475.0000
AUSTRALIA – DOLLAR1.4250
AUSTRIA – EURO0.8900
AZERBAIJAN – NEW MANAT1.7000
BAHAMAS – DOLLAR1.0000
BAHRAIN – DINAR0.3770
BANGLADESH – TAKA85.0000
BARBADOS – DOLLAR2.0200
BELARUS – NEW RUBLE2.1040
BELGIUM – EURO0.8900
BELIZE – DOLLAR2.0000
BENIN – CFA FRANC582.0000
BERMUDA – DOLLAR1.0000
BOLIVIA – BOLIVIANO6.8300
BOSNIA – MARKA1.7410
BOTSWANA – PULA10.5490
BRAZIL – REAL4.0200
BRUNEI – DOLLAR1.3450
BULGARIA – LEV1.7410
BURKINA FASO – CFA FRANC582.0000
BURMA-KYAT1,475.0000
BURUNDI – FRANC1,850.0000
CAMBODIA (KHMER) – RIEL4,051.0000
CAMEROON – CFA FRANC578.1200
CANADA – DOLLAR1.3000
CAPE VERDE – ESCUDO99.2910
CAYMAN ISLANDS – DOLLAR0.8200
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – CFA FRANC578.1200
CHAD – CFA FRANC578.1200
CHILE – PESO751.4800
CHINA – RENMINBI6.9610
COLOMBIA – PESO3,278.7500
COMOROS – FRANC439.0600
CONGO – CFA FRANC578.1200
COSTA RICA – COLON569.6500
COTE D’IVOIRE – CFA FRANC582.0000
CROATIA – KUNA6.4900
CUBA – Chavito1.0000
CYPRUS – EURO0.8900
CZECH REPUBLIC – KORUNA22.1650
DEM. REP. OF CONGO – FRANC1,650.0000
DENMARK – KRONE6.6520
DJIBOUTI – FRANC177.0000
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – PESO52.6600
ECUADOR – DOLARES1.0000
EGYPT – POUND16.0000
EL SALVADOR – DOLARES1.0000
EQUATORIAL GUINEA – CFA FRANC578.1200
ERITREA – NAKFA15.0000
ESTONIA – EURO0.8900
ETHIOPIA – BIRR31.8000
EURO ZONE – EURO0.8900
FIJI – DOLLAR2.1420
FINLAND – EURO0.8900
FRANCE – EURO0.8900
GABON – CFA FRANC578.1200
GAMBIA – DALASI51.0000
GEORGIA – LARI2.8700
GERMANY – EURO0.8900
GHANA – CEDI5.6600
GREECE – EURO0.8900
GRENADA – EAST CARIBBEAN DOLLAR2.7000
GUATEMALA – QUENTZAL7.6900
GUINEA BISSAU – CFA FRANC582.0000
GUINEA – FRANC9,380.0000
GUYANA – DOLLAR215.0000
HAITI – GOURDE87.6550
HONDURAS – LEMPIRA25.0000
HONG KONG – DOLLAR7.7860
HUNGARY – FORINT294.2900
ICELAND – KRONA120.7600
INDIA – RUPEE71.0000
INDONESIA – RUPIAH13,895.0000
IRAN – RIAL42,000.0000
IRAQ – DINAR1,138.0000
IRELAND – EURO0.8900
ISRAEL – SHEKEL3.4540
ITALY – EURO0.8900
JAMAICA – DOLLAR136.0000
JAPAN – YEN108.5300
JERUSALEM – SHEKEL3.4540
JORDAN – DINAR0.7080
KAZAKHSTAN – TENGE381.1800
KENYA – SHILLING101.2500
KOREA – WON1,153.7000
KOSOVO – EURO0.8900
KUWAIT – DINAR0.3030
KYRGYZSTAN – SOM69.6000
LAOS – KIP8,865.0000
LATVIA – EURO0.8900
LEBANON – POUND1500.0000
LESOTHO – MALOTI14.0560
LIBERIA – DOLLAR186.9900
LIBYA – DINAR1.3960
LITHUANIA – EURO0.8900
LUXEMBOURG – EURO0.8900
MADAGASCAR – ARIARY3,627.2000
MALAWI – KWACHA760.0000
MALAYSIA – RINGGIT4.0890
MALDIVES – RUFIYAA15.4200
MALI – CFA FRANC582.0000
MALTA – EURO0.8900
MARSHALL ISLANDS – DOLLAR1.0000
MARTINIQUE – EURO0.8900
MAURITANIA – OUGUIYA37.0000
MAURITIUS – RUPEE36.2000
MEXICO – PESO18.8920
MICRONESIA – DOLLAR1.0000
MOLDOVA – LEU17.1000
MONGOLIA – TUGRIK2,733.5200
MONTENEGRO – EURO0.8900
MOROCCO – DIRHAM9.5970
MOZAMBIQUE – METICAL 60.8500
NAMIBIA – DOLLAR14.0560
NEPAL – RUPEE113.7500
NETHERLANDS – EURO0.8900
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES – GUILDER1.7800
NEW ZEALAND – DOLLAR1.4830
NICARAGUA – CORDOBA33.8000
NIGER – CFA FRANC582.0000
NIGERIA – NAIRA361.0000
NORWAY – KRONE8.7820
OMAN – RIAL0.3850
PAKISTAN – RUPEE154.8500
PANAMA – BALBOA1.0000
PANAMA – DOLARES1.0000
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – KINA3.3110
PARAGUAY – GUARANI6,442.3301
PERU – SOL3.3140
PHILIPPINES – PESO50.6400
POLAND – ZLOTY3.7890
PORTUGAL – EURO0.8900
QATAR – RIYAL3.6400
REP. OF N MACEDONIA – DINAR54.7600
REPUBLIC OF PALAU – DOLLAR1.0000
ROMANIA – NEW LEU4.2560
RUSSIA – RUBLE62.2730
RWANDA – FRANC925.0000
SAO TOME & PRINCIPE – NEW DOBRAS22.1220
SAUDI ARABIA – RIYAL3.7500
SENEGAL – CFA FRANC582.0000
SERBIA – DINAR104.9200
SEYCHELLES – RUPEE13.6200
SIERRA LEONE – LEONE9,639.5898
SINGAPORE – DOLLAR1.3450
SLOVAK REPUBLIC – EURO0.8900
SLOVENIA – EURO0.8900
SOLOMON ISLANDS – DOLLAR8.0650
SOMALI – SHILLING575.0000
SOUTH AFRICA – RAND14.0560
SOUTH SUDANESE – POUND160.0000
SPAIN – EURO0.8900
SRI LANKA – RUPEE181.3000
ST LUCIA – E CARIBBEAN DOLLAR2.7000
SUDAN – SUDANESE POUND45.0000
SURINAME – GUILDER7.5200
SWAZILAND – LANGENI14.0560
SWEDEN – KRONA9.3010
SWITZERLAND – FRANC0.9660
SYRIA – POUND435.0000
TAIWAN – DOLLAR29.9420
TAJIKISTAN – SOMONI9.6500
TANZANIA – SHILLING2,293.0000
THAILAND – BAHT29.7700
TIMOR – LESTE DILI1.0000
TOGO – CFA FRANC582.0000
TONGA – PA’ANGA2.2090
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – DOLLAR6.6970
TUNISIA – DINAR2.7720
TURKEY – LIRA5.9420
TURKMENISTAN – NEW MANAT3.4910
UGANDA – SHILLING3,660.0000
UKRAINE – HRYVNIA23.6900
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – DIRHAM3.6730
UNITED KINGDOM – POUND STERLING0.7580
URUGUAY – PESO37.1300
UZBEKISTAN – SOM9,500.0000
VANUATU – VATU112.8000
VENEZUELA – BOLIVAR SOBERANO70,675.7400
VENEZUELA – FUERTE (OLD)248,832.0000
VIETNAM – DONG23,171.0000
WESTERN SAMOA – TALA2.5370
YEMEN – RIAL480.0000
ZAMBIA – NEW KWACHA14.0500
ZIMBABWE – RTGS16.2800

New FBAR Filing Verification Submission Process | FBAR Lawyer & Attorney

On November 19, 2019, the IRS announced changes to the current FBAR filing verification submission process. The change is technical, but not without importance.

New FBAR Filing Verification Submission Process: FBAR Background Information

FBAR is a common name for FinCEN Form 114 (formerly known as TD F 90-22.1), Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. US Persons must use this form to report their ownership of or signatory authority or any other authority over foreign bank and financial accounts as long as these accounts’ aggregate balance exceeds the FBAR filing threshold. Despite its official name, the IRS has administered the form since 2001, not FinCEN.

FBAR is one of the most important US international information returns. FBAR noncompliance may lead to the imposition of severe civil and criminal penalties. Hence, it is of absolute importance for US persons to timely and properly file this form.

New FBAR Filing Verification Submission Process: Rules Prior to November 19 2019

Prior to November 19, 2019, US persons who wanted to verify whether their FBARs were filed could obtain the relevant information for up to five FBARs by simply calling 1-866-270-0733 (the IRS FBAR Hotline) and selecting option 1. IRM 4.26.16.4.13(4). In this case, the IRS representatives would provide the verbal verification for free. The filers could make this request sixty days after the date of filing. Id.

If, however, a filer wished to request information concerning more than five forms or he wanted to obtain paper copies of filed FBARs, then he would need to do so in writing. For written verifications, there was a $5.00 fee for verifying five or fewer forms and a $1.00 fee for each additional form. Id. The IRS charged $0.15 per copy of the entire FBAR. Id. Written requests should have been accompanied by payment in accordance with IRM 4.26.16.4.13(4)(b).

New FBAR Filing Verification Submission Process: New November 19 2019 Rules

On November 19, 2019, the IRS issued a memorandum which contained interim guidance concerning the process by which the IRS would accept the requests for FBAR filing verifications. The memorandum introduced the following revisions to the FBAR filing verification process.

Effective as of the date of this memorandum, the IRS no longer accepts verbal verification requests; all requests must be submitted in writing. Hence, the existing fee structure in IRM 4.26.16.4.13(4)(b) now applies to all verification requests.

The IRS has stated that this procedural change is necessary to provide documentary evidence of all verification inquiries and IRS response to them. This new interim guidance will be incorporated into IRM 4.26.16 within the next two years from the date of issuance of the memorandum.

New FBAR Filing Verification Submission Process: Making a Proper Written Request

The written request for FBAR filing verification should include the filer’s name, Taxpayer Identification Number, and filing period(s). Tax practitioners requesting verifications for their clients must also make these requests in writing, and provide a copy of the Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, authorizing them to receive the FBAR information. The same fee structure as described above (i.e. a $5.00 fee for verifying five or fewer forms, a $1.00 fee for each additional form, and copies for an additional fee of $0.15) will continue to apply. Checks or money orders should be made payable to the “United States Treasury”.

Written requests and payments for FBAR filing verifications and copies of filed FBARs should be mailed to:

IRS Detroit Federal Building
Compliance Review Team
Attn.: Verification
P.O. Box 32063
Detroit, MI 48232-0063

In response to written requests, the IRS will send a letter stating whether the record shows that an FBAR was filed and if so, the date filed. If a copy of a paper-filed FBAR was requested, a copy will be included with IRS letter.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help with FBAR Compliance

The new FBAR filing verification process will be especially relevant in the context of offshore voluntary disclosures. Oftentimes, taxpayers do not have copies of their prior FBARs; and it is necessary to obtain these copies in order to properly calculate the penalty exposure as well as use them as evidence of non-willfulness (or find out if the IRS may use them as evidence of willfulness).

If you are required to file FBARs and you have not done so, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers with their FBAR compliance issues, and We Can Help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

IRS Issues FBAR Fact Sheet | FBAR FATCA Tax Lawyer & Attorney

On April 4, 2019, the IRS issued the FBAR Fact Sheet in order to acquaint US taxpayers with this highly important reporting requirement for foreign accounts held by US persons. Let’s analyze the new fact sheet in more detail.

FBAR Fact Sheet: Organizational Structure of the Fact Sheet

The IRS FBAR Fact Sheet can be divided into seven parts: (1) introduction to FBAR and the need to report foreign accounts to the IRS; (2) identification of who needs to file FBARs; (3) explanation of how to file FBARs (including special cases such as joint accounts and the determination of highest balances); (4) discussion of Form 8938 and FBAR; (5) amended and late FBARs; (6) description of FBAR recordkeeping requirements; and (7) more IRS resources concerning FBAR. These parts are not clearly delineated in the Fact Sheet; rather, they are summaries of various information that this brochure contains.

FBAR Fact Sheet: Introduction to FBAR

The IRS FBAR Fact Sheet commences with the warning to US taxpayers that they are required to report their foreign bank and financial accounts even if they do not produce any interest income. April 15 is identified as the critical deadline for these taxpayers. Later, the IRS also states that there is an extension available for FBARs. Again, the IRS did not do a very good job in organizing the Fact Sheet.

FBAR Fact Sheet: Who Needs to File FBARs?

Then, the IRS Fact Sheet finally introduces FBAR and states that it was created by the 1970 Bank Secrecy Act; there is no discussion of the significance of this legal history. Then, the IRS focuses on the persons who may have to file FBARs and introduces the concept of “US Person”. It defines US person as a “citizen or resident of the United States or any domestic legal entity such as a partnership, corporation, limited liability company, estate or trust.”

There is a hidden trap in this IRS definition. “Resident of the United States” does not only include US permanent residents (as most non-lawyers would read it), but also US tax residents. I encourage the readers to read this article with respect to the definition of “resident” for FBAR purposes.

The IRS also defines “United States” for FBAR purposes. The readers can read this article published by Sherayzen Law Office for a more detailed analysis of this concept.

FBAR Fact Sheet: How to File FBARs

This part of the FBAR Fact Sheet focuses on the details concerning how to file FBAR electronically. The IRS cautions taxpayers that FBAR should not be filed with their federal tax returns.

Then, the IRS discusses in more detail certain special cases such as joint accounts and US retirement accounts. The IRS finishes this part of the FBAR fact sheet with the discussion on the determination of the highest value of a foreign account.

FBAR Fact Sheet: Form 8938 & FBAR

In this part of the Fact Sheet, the IRS introduces taxpayers to an existence of another requirement concerning foreign accounts, FATCA Form 8938. The IRS urges the readers to search the IRS website with respect to this form and how it compares to FBAR.

FBAR Fact Sheet: Amended and Late FBARs

The next part of the Fact Sheet focuses on amended and late FBARs. First, the IRS discusses how to amend an FBAR. Then, the IRS states that, as soon as a taxpayer learns that he did not file the required FBARs, he needs to e-file them. At that point, the IRS casually discusses that there is space available on the form to explain the reason for late filing. Finally, the IRS describes the severe FBAR criminal penalties, stating the following: “the IRS will not penalize those who properly report a foreign financial account on a late filed FBAR, and the IRS finds they have reasonable cause for late filing.”

Sherayzen Law Office believes that the IRS has not done a good job in this part of the Fact Sheet. It has completely failed to emphasize the importance of seeking a legal advice prior to filing a late FBAR. A taxpayer may get the wrong impression that he should file a late FBAR as soon as possible before exploring the options on how to do it in a way that protects him from excessive FBAR penalties.

Moreover, the IRS also failed to emphasize the importance of offshore voluntary disclosure with respect to late FBARs. Besides a casual mention of an “IRS compliance program”, there is nothing about the various available voluntary disclosure options for US taxpayers who are filing late FBARs. The IRS does not refer at all to the Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures and Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures.

FBAR Fact Sheet: Recordkeeping Requirements

In the next part of the Fact Sheet, the IRS discusses how many years the FBAR filers need to keep the supporting documentation and copies of FBARs. Curiously, the IRS states that the filers should keep the documents for five years from the due date of FBAR, but the FBAR Statute of Limitations is six years.

Sherayzen Law Office does not believe that the IRS advice is correct here. We urge FBAR filers to keep their FBAR records and copies of the filed FBARs for six to ten years.

FBAR Fact Sheet: IRS Resources

The IRS concludes its FBAR Fact Sheet with the discussion of additional available resources to US taxpayers, including FBAR hotline and Publication 4261.

Sherayzen Law Office’s View of the FBAR Fact Sheet

We believe that the FBAR Fact Sheet can serve only as a general introduction to FBAR, but it is not sufficient to provide US taxpayers with sufficient guidance on how to properly deal with late FBARs. On the contrary, a US taxpayer may actually put himself in a worse legal position if he only relies on the Fact Sheet to file his late FBARs.

If you should have filed FBARs but you have not done so, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. As the IRS states in its FBAR Fact Sheet, the FBAR penalties are extremely severe. Hence, it is important to approach any FBAR violations with an extreme caution and retain Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to deal with late FBARs, and We Can Help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

New Zealand Bank Accounts | International Tax Lawyer & Attorney Madison Wisconsin

There is a vibrant community of New Zealanders in Wisconsin (though New Zealanders can be found in many other places in the United States). Many members of this community continue to maintain their pre-immigration New Zealand bank accounts. Some of these owners of New Zealand bank accounts are aware of at least some US tax requirements with respect to these accounts, others are confused and still others are completely unaware of the existence of any such requirements. In this article, I will explain the three most common US reporting requirements – worldwide income reporting, FBAR and Form 8938 – concerning New Zealand accounts as well as describe, in general, those required to comply with them.

Note that, in this article, I will concentrate solely on individuals, not businesses, trusts or estates.

New Zealand Bank Accounts: US Tax Residents, US Persons and Specified Persons

Let’s commence our discussion with the issue of who is required to comply with US reporting requirements concerning New Zealand bank accounts. The first issue to note here is that US tax reporting requirements do not always define the required filers in the same manner.

In fact, each of aforementioned three requirements has its own definition of required filers. The worldwide income reporting requirement will follow the general definition of US tax residents. On the other hand, “US Persons” are required to file FBAR and “Specified Persons” are required to file Form 8938.

Despite these differences, however, the definitions of US Persons and Specified Persons are very similar to the concept of US tax residency; there are some specific differences, but, overall, these two concepts follow the definition of US tax residents very closely.

Hence, we should do the same and concentrate on the definition of a “US tax resident”. This is a broad term which covers a variety of US taxpayers, including: US citizens, US permanent residents, persons who satisfy the Substantial Presence Test and individuals who declare themselves as US tax residents. This general definition of “US tax resident” is subject to a number of important exceptions, such as visa exemptions (for example, an F-1 visa five-year exemption for foreign students) from the Substantial Presence Test.

Both, US Persons and Specified Persons include the same categories of taxpayers, but differences arise with respect to the treatment of individuals who declare themselves as US tax residents. The most common differences arise with respect to the treaty “tie-breaker” provisions to escape US tax residency and persons who declare themselves tax residents of the United States.

I strongly recommend that you contact an international tax attorney in order to determine whether you fall within the definition of any one or all of these filers. An attempt to do it by a non-professional is fraught with legal dangers.

New Zealand Bank Accounts: Worldwide Income Reporting

All US tax residents must report their worldwide income on their US tax returns. In other words, US tax residents must disclose both US-source and foreign-source income to the IRS. In the context of New Zealand bank accounts, foreign-source income means all bank interest income, dividends, royalties, capital gains and any other income generated by these accounts.

New Zealand Bank Accounts: FBAR Reporting

The official name of the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”) is FinCEN Form 114. FBAR requires all US Persons to disclose their ownership interest in or signatory authority or any other authority over New Zealand (and any other foreign country) bank and financial accounts if the aggregate highest balance of these accounts exceeds $10,000. I encourage you to search our website sherayzenlaw.com for article concerning the definition of a US Person.

There is one aspect of the FBAR legal test that I wish to discuss here with more specificity – the definition of an “account”. The FBAR definition of an account is substantially broader than what this word is generally means in our society. “Account” for FBAR purposes includes: checking accounts, savings accounts, fixed-deposit accounts, investments accounts, mutual funds, options/commodity futures accounts, life insurance policies with a cash surrender value, precious metals accounts, earth mineral accounts, et cetera. In fact, whenever there is a custodial relationship between a foreign financial institution and a US person’s foreign asset, there is a very high probability that the IRS will find that an account exists for FBAR purposes.

Finally, FBAR has a very complex and severe (to an astonishing degree) penalty system. The most feared penalties are criminal FBAR penalties with up to 10 years in jail (of course, these penalties come into effect only in the most egregious situations). On the civil side, the most dreaded penalties are FBAR willful civil penalties which can easily exceed a person’s net worth. Even FBAR non-willful penalties can wreak a havoc in a person’s financial life.

Civil FBAR penalties have their own complex web of penalty mitigation layers, which depend on the facts and circumstances of one’s case. One of the most important factors is the size of the New Zealand bank accounts subject to FBAR penalties. Additionally, since 2015, the IRS has added another layer of limitations on the FBAR penalty imposition. These self-imposed limitations of course help, but one must keep in mind that they are voluntary IRS actions and may be disregarded under certain circumstances (in fact, there are already a few instances where this has occurred).

New Zealand Bank Accounts: FATCA Form 8938

Since 2011, FATCA Form 8938 has been another higher important requirement of US international tax law. This form is filed with a federal tax return and considered to be an integral part of the return. This means that a failure to file Form 8938 may render the entire tax return incomplete and potentially subject to an IRS audit.

Form 8938 requires “Specified Persons” to disclose on their US tax returns all of their Specified Foreign Financial Assets (“SFFA”) as long as these Persons meet the applicable filing threshold. The filing threshold depends on a Specified Person’s tax return filing status and his physical residency. For example, if he is single and resides in the United States, he needs to file Form 8938 as long as the aggregate value of his SFFA is more than $50,000 at the end of the year or more than $75,000 at any point during the year.

The IRS defines SFFA very broadly to include an enormous variety of financial instruments, including foreign bank accounts, foreign business ownership, foreign trust beneficiary interests, bond certificates, various types of swaps, et cetera. In some ways, FBAR and Form 8938 require the reporting of the same assets, but these two forms are completely independent from each other. This means that a taxpayer may have to do duplicate reporting on FBAR and Form 8938.

Specified Persons consist of two categories of filers: Specified Individuals and Specified Domestic Entities. You can find a detailed explanation of both categories by searching our website sherayzenlaw.com.

Finally, Form 8938 has its own penalty system which has far-reaching consequences for income tax liability (including disallowance of foreign tax credit and imposition of higher accuracy-related income tax penalties). There is also a $10,000 failure-to-file penalty.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With the US Tax Reporting of Your New Zealand Bank Accounts

If you have New Zealand bank accounts, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with your US international tax compliance. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers with their US international tax issues, and We can help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!