Foreign Bank Account Report Form – Deadlines, Requirements & Facts to Know

You may have heard of the Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report (FBAR) filing or information about foreign bank account reporting, but you don’t know what it is or if it applies to you. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

The International Tax Team at Wolf & Company has compiled the most common FBAR or FinCEN Form 114 questions below.

What is the FBAR or FinCEN Form 114?

FBAR refers to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Form 114, the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. It is an electronic information filing that must be filed with FinCEN annually. FinCEN Form 114 is filed separately from your income tax return to report foreign bank and financial accounts.

Who Has to File the FBAR?

Any U.S. person that has a financial interest in or signature authority over a financial account or accounts, the aggregate value of which exceeds $10,000 at any point during the calendar year, must file the FBAR.

A “U.S. Person” not only includes individuals (U.S. citizens, Green Card holders, and resident aliens), but also includes:

  • Corporations
  • Estates
  • Partnerships
  • Trusts
  • Other entities, including disregarded entities


Key points to remember:

  • This report is required even if a tax return is not required.
  • It includes accounts owned jointly or those over which you have a power of attorney.
  • Minor children must file their own FBAR.
  • No income tax is calculated on this form – it is for information reporting purposes only.
  • It is not $10,000 per account but an annual aggregate total. However, once the threshold is surpassed all accounts must be reported.

When is the FBAR Deadline?

FinCEN Form 114 is due on April 15th, however, there is an automatic extension to October 15th.

An extension does not need to be filed since it is automatic, and the FBAR extension is not tied to your tax return extension. Therefore, it is possible to file your tax return by April 15th and your FBAR by October 15th.

What Types of Accounts Need to be Reported?

All foreign bank and financial accounts must be reported, including:

  • Annuities (with cash value)
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Life insurance (with cash value)
  • Mutual funds
  • Pension accounts
  • Stock accounts

How and Where Do I File the FBAR?

The FBAR cannot be paper filed. Therefore, the FBAR form is filed electronically via your tax preparer’s software or can be done here via the FinCEN website.

Did This Reporting Requirement Just Start?

Unfortunately, no. The FBAR has been around since 1970 and was enacted as part of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

It has come to the forefront of the tax world in recent years because of the Patriot Act in 2001, which reinforced the requirement of foreign bank account data reporting, and it is also a key component of the global anti-money laundering (AML) initiative.

Are There Late Filing or Failure to File Penalties?

Yes, and they can be severe:

  • For those who are non-willful (i.e., there is reasonable cause for the late filing or non-filing) the penalty is $10,000 per account, per year.
  • For those who are willful (i.e., you intentionally filed late or failed to file) the penalty can be $100,000 or 50% of the balance of the account at the time of the violation. This is dependent on what is greater.

Can I Avoid These Penalties?

If you are required to but have not filed an FBAR form – do not be concerned. The IRS created the following two amnesty programs for taxpayers to come into compliance:

  • The Streamlined Compliance Procedures
  • Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures


Both programs allow taxpayers to file missed FBARs and potentially mitigate the penalties due.

Need Assistance?

If you still have questions or think you may need assistance to come into compliance, the International Tax Services Team at Wolf & Company can help. We specialize in international tax reporting, specifically IRS disclosures, and can guide you on the right path to compliance. For more information, please reach out to our International Tax Services Team today.

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