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Joint Account FBAR Reporting | FBAR Tax Lawyer & Attorney

As an FBAR tax attorney, I constantly deal with the issues of joint account FBAR reporting. In most cases, the joint account FBAR reporting goes relatively smooth, but problems may surface from time to time. In this essay, I would like to address the general issues concerning joint account FBAR reporting.

Joint Account FBAR Reporting: FBAR Background

FBAR is the acronym for the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, FinCEN Form 114. A US person has to file an FBAR if he has a financial interest in or signatory authority or any other authority over foreign bank and financial accounts the aggregate value of which exceeds $10,000 at any point during the relevant calendar year.

It is important to emphasize that, with respect to joint accounts, each joint owner takes the entire value of the account in calculating whether he or she exceeded the $10,000 filing threshold.

A US person should file an FBAR separately from the tax return. Since 2016 FBAR, the Congress aligned the FBAR filing deadline with that of an income tax return (i.e. April 15). For example, the 2018 FBAR is due on April 15, 2019.

Joint Account FBAR Reporting: Joint Owners

If two or more persons jointly maintain or own a partial interest in a foreign bank or financial account, then each of these persons has a financial interest in that account. Hence, as long as they are US persons, each of these US persons has to report the account on his or her FBAR.

Moreover, each of the filers must also indicate the principal joint owner of the joint account, even if this owner is not a US person. I wish to repeat this important point: the joint owner must be disclosed on FBAR even if he is not a US person. Besides the name of the joint owner, the filer must report the joint owner’s address and tax identification number (US or foreign).

Joint Account FBAR Reporting: Report the Entire Value of the Account

Even though the same joint account may be reported at least twice, FinCEN requires the FBAR filer to disclose the entire value of each jointly-owned foreign account on his FBAR.

Joint Account FBAR Reporting: Exception for Spouses

In certain circumstances, spouses may file a joint FBAR. This means that the spouse of an FBAR filer may not be required to file a separate FBAR, but she can join her husband in filing one FBAR for both of them.

In order to qualify for this exception, the spouses must meet the following three conditions. First and most important, all of the financial accounts that the non-filing spouse has to report are jointly owned with the filing spouse. The filing spouse may have additional accounts, but the non-filing spouse should not have any other foreign bank and financial accounts. Beware, however, that if one spouse is an owner of a foreign account, but the other spouse only has a signatory authority over the same account, then separate FBARs must be filed by each spouse.

Second, the filing spouse reports the jointly owned accounts on a timely filed FBAR and a PIN is used to sign item 44.

Third, both spouses must complete and sign Form 114a, a Record of Authorization to Electronically File FBARs (maintained with the filers’ records).

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Joint Account FBAR Reporting

If you have foreign bank and financial accounts, you should contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help with US international tax compliance and FBAR reporting. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers with their FBAR filings, including joint FBAR filings, and we can help you!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

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!

Happy New Year 2018 From Sherayzen Law Office

Our team at Sherayzen Law Office wishes a very Happy New Year 2018 to our clients; colleagues at other law firms; judges of state and federal courts; our website blog readers; and our followers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media.

Year 2017 was another highly successful year at Sherayzen Law Office. Our tremendous expertise and experience in US international tax law draws an ever-increasing number of clients from all over the world. We have expanded our client base at existing countries and added clients from new countries, bringing the total number of countries with our client assets to close to seventy. Additionally, we were asked to defend a case in federal court concerning FBAR penalties, successfully advised on expatriation cases and finalized a number of existing and new tax planning cases.

Our biggest success area, however, remains Offshore Voluntary Disclosures with the new highs for Form 3520, 5471 and 926 voluntary disclosures as well as FBAR/FATCA voluntary disclosures. FATCA-based cases were especially prolific with a significant variation in fact patterns and countries.

Furthermore, we have made an unprecedented effort to educate our clients as well as the general public about US international tax law. A combined record number of video posts and website blog posts were made available online. Additionally, Mr. Eugene Sherayzen, the owner and the principal attorney of Sherayzen Law Office, spoke at a large number of seminars in 2017, including outside of the United States.

In many ways, year 2017 was also a preparatory year for the new year 2018. We are closely following the rapid changes in US international tax law. The main changes are coming, of course, from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The changes are enormous and will affect virtually every US taxpayer – both, individuals and businesses. We already started a series of articles on this topic. Please, continue to follow our blog in the new year 2018 to learn more about how the Act’s provisions may affect your tax situation.

It is also important to emphasize that, while the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will introduce the main changes in the new year 2018, some of its provisions are very relevant for the tax year 2017. In particular, the new income recognition rules for US Shareholders of foreign corporations (PFIC corporations are exempted from this provision) may impose a significant and unexpected tax burden on US taxpayers. Please, continue to follow our blog in the new year 2018 to learn more about these changes.

Equally important are the new IRS regulations that will be coming in the new year 2018. The IRS has announced that it intends to issue regulations that will target certain obscure areas of tax law which remain unregulated by the IRS or where the regulations are contradictory. In this context, it is particularly important to mention the interaction of PFIC rules with the Throwback Rule concerning distributions of a foreign trust’s UNI.

Finally, the IRS has also stated that it would announce sometime in the new year 2018 dramatic changes to Offshore Voluntary Disclosure options that exist right now. We have written a number articles on this topic and we have warned our readers that the current favorable environment may change dramatically with a potentially complete closure of the IRS OVDP program.

Sherayzen Law Office is a highly experienced law firm with a unique expertise in US international tax law. We have helped hundreds of US taxpayers around the world to bring and maintain their US tax affairs in full compliance with US tax laws while ethically and effectively reducing their penalties and tax burden. We can help You!

Contact Us Today to Schedule Your Confidential Consultation!

Official Treasury Currency Conversion Rates of December 31, 2009

These Official Treasury 2009 FBAR Conversion Rates are posted here due to the fact that U.S. taxpayers who are doing voluntary disclosure for prior years with respect to delinquent FBARs are required to use these rates to prepare the FBARs for 2009.  Every year, the U.S. Department of Treasure publishes its official currency conversion rates (they are called “Treasury’s Financial Management Service rates”); I will refer to the “FBAR Conversion Rates”.

The latest (October 2013) FBAR instructions require the use of Treasury’s Financial Management Service rates, if available, to determine the maximum value of a foreign bank account. In particular, the FBAR instructions state:

In the case of non-United States currency, convert the maximum account value for each account into United States dollars. Convert foreign currency by using the Treasury’s Financial Management Service rate (this rate may be found at www.fms.treas.gov) from the last day of the calendar year. If no Treasury Financial Management Service rate is available, use another verifiable exchange rate and provide the source of that rate. In valuing currency of a country that uses multiple exchange rates, use the rate that would apply if the currency in the account were converted into United States dollars on the last day of the calendar year.

For this reason, the international tax attorneys take their time to compile these rates with all updates. For your convenience, Sherayzen Law Office provides a table of the official  2009 FBAR Conversion Rates below (keep in mind, you still need to refer to the official website for any updates).

COUNTRY-CURRENCY F.C. TO $1.00
AFGHANISTAN – AFGHANI 47.9200
ALBANIA – LEK 95.4300
ALGERIA – DINAR 70.3330
ANGOLA – KWANZA 75.0000
ANTIGUA – BARBUDA – E. CARIBBEAN DOLLAR 2.7000
ARGENTINA-PESO 3.7980
ARMENIA – DRAM 375.0000
AUSTRALIA – DOLLAR 1.1110
AUSTRIA – EURO 0.6950
AZERBAIJAN – MANAT 0.8200
BAHAMAS – DOLLAR 1.0000
BAHRAIN – DINAR 0.3770
BANGLADESH – TAKA 68.0000
BARBADOS – DOLLAR 2.0200
BELARUS – RUBLE 2880.0000
BELGIUM-EURO 0.6950
BELIZE – DOLLAR 2.0000
BENIN – CFA FRANC 454.8900
BERMUDA – DOLLAR 1.0000
BOLIVIA – BOLIVIANO 6.9700
BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA MARKA 1.3590
BOTSWANA – PULA 6.6530
BRAZIL – REAL 1.7400
BRUNEI – DOLLAR 1.4010
BULGARIA – LEV 1.3580
BURKINA FASO – CFA FRANC 454.8900
BURMA – KYAT 450.0000
BURUNDI – FRANC 1200.0000
CAMBODIA (KHMER) – RIEL 4163.0000
CAMEROON – CFA FRANC 454.8900
CANADA – DOLLAR 1.0510
CAPE VERDE – ESCUDO 74.7270
CAYMAN ISLANDS – DOLLAR 0.8200
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC – CFA FRANC 454.8900
CHAD – CFA FRANC 454.8900
CHILE – PESO 507.0000
CHINA – RENMINBI 6.8260
COLOMBIA – PESO 2046.5000
COMOROS – FRANC 361.3500
CONGO – CFA FRANC 454.8900
COSTA RICA – COLON 553.7000
COTE D’IVOIRE – CFA FRANC 454.8900
CROATIA – KUNA 5.0000
CUBA-PESO 0.9260
CYPRUS-EURO 0.6950
CZECH – KORUNA 18.1190
DEM REP OF CONGO-CONGOLESE FRANC 900.0000
DENMARK – KRONE 5.1670
DJIBOUTI – FRANC 177.0000
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – PESO 36.1000
EAST TIMOR-DILI 1.0000
ECAUDOR-DOLARES 1.0000
EGYPT – POUND 5.4840
EL SALVADOR-DOLARES 1.0000
EQUATORIAL GUINEA – CFA FRANC 454.8900
ERITREA – NAKFA 15.0000
ESTONIA – KROON 10.8650
ETHIOPIA – BIRR 12.6400
EURO ZONE – EURO 0.6950
FIJI – DOLLAR 1.9250
FINLAND-EURO 0.6950
FRANCE-EURO 0.6950
GABON – CFA FRANC 454.8900
GAMBIA – DALASI 27.0000
GEORGIA-LARI 1.6900
GERMANY FRG-EURO 0.6950
GHANA – CEDI 1.4290
GREECE-EURO 0.6950
GRENADA – EAST CARIBBEAN DOLLAR 2.7000
GUATEMALA-QUENTZEL 8.3320
GUINEA -FRANC 4924.0000
GUINEA BISSAU – CFA FRANC 454.8900
GUYANA – DOLLAR 201.0000
HAITI – GOURDE 40.7500
HONDURAS – LEMPIRA 18.9000
HONG KONG – DOLLAR 7.7540
HUNGARY – FORINT 187.7700
ICELAND – KRONA 124.4500
INDIA – RUPEE 46.4000
INDONESIA – RUPIAH 9350.0000
IRAN – RIAL 8229.0000
IRAQ – DINAR 1150.0000
IRELAND-EURO 0.6950
ISRAEL-SHEKEL 3.7800
ITALY-EURO 0.6950
JAMAICA – DOLLAR 89.3000
JAPAN – YEN 92.3900
JERESALEM-SHEKEL 3.7800
JORDAN – DINAR 0.7080
KAZAKHSTAN – TENGE 148.4000
KENYA – SHILLING 75.8500
KOREA – WON 1163.6500
KUWAIT – DINAR 0.2860
KYRGYZSTAN – SOM 44.0000
LAOS – KIP 8476.0000
LATVIA – LATS 0.4920
LEBANON – POUND 1500.0000
LESOTHO – SOUTH AFRICAN RAND 7.3690
LIBERIA – U.S. DOLLAR 49.0000
LIBYA-DINAR 1.2340
LITHUANIA – LITAS 2.3980
LUXEMBOURG-EURO 0.6950
MACAO – MOP 8.0000
MACEDONIA FYROM – DENAR 42.3000
MADAGASCAR-ARIA 1954.6400
MALAWI – KWACHA 146.0000
MALAYSIA – RINGGIT 3.4220
MALI – CFA FRANC 454.8900
MALTA-EURO 0.6950
MARSHALLS ISLANDS – DOLLAR 1.0000
MARTINIQUE-EURO 0.6950
MAURITANIA – OUGUIYA 270.0000
MAURITIUS – RUPEE 29.0000
MEXICO – NEW PESO 13.0990
MICRONESIA – DOLLAR 1.0000
MOLDOVA – LEU 12.1850
MONGOLIA – TUGRIK 1435.8800
MONTENEGRO-EURO 0.6950
MOROCCO – DIRHAM 7.9030
MOZAMBIQUE – METICAL 29.2800
NAMIBIA-DOLLAR 7.3690
NEPAL – RUPEE 74.4000
NETHERLANDS-EURO 0.6950
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES – GUILDER 1.7800
NEW ZEALAND – DOLLAR 1.3740
NICARAGUA – CORDOBA 20.8400
NIGER – CFA FRANC 454.8900
NIGERIA – NAIRA 149.4500
NORWAY – KRONE 5.7640
OMAN – RIAL 0.3850
PAKISTAN – RUPEE 84.2000
PALAU-DOLLAR 1.0000
PANAMA – BALBOA 1.0000
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – KINA 2.5230
PARAGUAY – GUARANI 4650.0000
PERU – INTI 0.0000
PERU – NUEVO SOL 2.8900
PHILIPPINES – PESO 46.4500
POLAND – ZLOTY 2.8500
PORTUGAL-EURO 0.6950
QATAR – RIYAL 3.6420
ROMANIA – LEU 2.9420
RUSSIA-RUBLE 30.3110
RWANDA – FRANC 569.4700
SAO TOME & PRINCIPE – DOBRAS 16539.2150
SAUDI ARABIA – RIYAL 3.7500
SENEGAL – CFA FRANC 454.8900
SERBIA-DINAR 66.7300
SEYCHELLES – RUPEE 10.9180
SIERRA LEONE – LEONE 3930.0000
SINGAPORE – DOLLAR 1.4010
SLOVAK-EURO 0.6950
SLOVENIA-EURO 0.6950
SOLOMON ISLANDS – DOLLAR 7.3580
SOUTH AFRICA – RAND 7.3690
SPAIN-EURO 0.6950
SRI LANKA – RUPEE 114.3500
ST LUCIA – EC DOLLAR 2.7000
SUDAN-POUND 2.3140
SURINAME – GUILDER 2.8000
SWAZILAND – LILANGENI 7.3690
SWEDEN – KRONA 7.1160
SWITZERLAND – FRANC 1.0310
SYRIA – POUND 45.5000
TAIWAN – DOLLAR 31.9500
TAJIKISTAN-SOMONI 4.3800
TANZANIA – SHILLING 1335.0000
THAILAND – BAHT 33.3000
TOGO – CFA FRANC 454.8900
TONGA – PA’ANGA 1.8760
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO – DOLLAR 6.3300
TUNISIA – DINAR 1.3180
TURKEY-LIRA 1.4930
TURKMENISTAN – MANAT 2.8430
UGANDA – SHILLING 1895.0000
UKRAINE – HRYVNIA 8.0300
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – DIRHAM 3.6730
UNITED KINGDOM – POUND STERLING 0.6160
URUGUAY – NEW PESO 19.4500
UZBEKISTAN – SOM 1525.0000
VANUATU – VATU 96.0900
VENZEULA – NEW BOLIVAR 2.1500
VIETNAM – DONG 18469.0000
WESTERN SAMOA – TALA 2.5190
YEMEN – RIAL 206.0000
YUGOSLAVIA – DINAR 66.7300
ZAMBIA-KWACHA 4640.0000
ZIMBABWE – DOLLAR 0.0000

 

FBAR Extension for Certain Individuals: FinCEN Notices 2011-1 and 2011-2

On May 31, 2011, and June 17, 2011, in FinCEN Notices 2011-1 and 2011-2, the Internal Revenue Service and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that a small subset of individuals, who are required to file the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), will receive a one-year extension beyond the recent filing date of June 30, 2011.

FinCEN Notices 2011-1 and 2011-2 concern only individuals with signature authority and apply to the following narrow categories of filers:

1). An employee or officer of a covered entity (see 31 C.F.R. § 1010.350(f)(2)(i)-(v)) who has signature or other authority over and no financial interest in a foreign financial account of another entity more than 50 percent owned, directly or indirectly, by the entity (a “controlled person”).
2). An employee or officer of a controlled person of a covered entity (see 31 C.F.R. § 1010.350(f)(2)(i)-(v)) who has signature or other authority over and no financial interest in a foreign financial account of the entity or another controlled person of the entity.
3). An employee or officer of an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission who has signature or other authority over and no financial interest in a foreign financial account of persons that are not investment companies registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940.

Notice that categories 1 and 2 do not apply to companies that are not publicly traded or not SEC-registrants.

The new extended filing deadline for the categories of individuals above is June 30, 2012. The deadline applies to FBARs for 2010, 2009 and earlier years.

Unless another relief notice applies, all other U.S. persons required to file an FBAR this year are required to meet the June 30, 2011 filing date. Unlike with federal income tax returns, extensions of time to file are not available.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for FBAR Guidance

If you have any questions with respect to FinCEN Notices 2011-1 and 2011-2 or if you are looking for FBAR guidance, contact Sherayzen Law Office NOW! Eugene Sherayzen an experienced tax attorney will explain to you the current FBAR requirements and devise the appropriate FBAR compliance strategy for you.