What is an FBAR?
An FBAR is a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial
Account. The form number is
Who must file an FBAR?
Any United States person who has a financial
interest in or signature authority, or other authority over
any financial account in a foreign country, if the aggregate
value of these accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during
the calendar year
What is a United States person?
A United States person is:
What is a foreign country?
A “foreign country” includes all geographical areas outside
the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the
territories and possessions of the United States (including
Guam, American Samoa, and the United States Virgin Islands).
What is a financial account?
A “financial account” includes any bank, securities,
securities derivatives or other financial instruments
accounts. The term includes any savings, demand, checking,
deposit, or any other account maintained with a financial
What constitutes signature or
other authority over an account?
A person has signature authority over an account if
such person can control the disposition of money or other
property in it by delivery of a document containing his or
her signature (or his or her signature and that of one or
more other persons) to the bank or other person with whom
the account is maintained.
Other authority exists in a person who can exercise
comparable power over an account by direct communication to
the bank or other person with whom the account is
maintained, either orally or by some other means.
What does “maximum value of
account” mean (for Box 22 on the FBAR)?
The maximum value of account is the largest amount
of currency and non-monetary assets that appear on any
quarterly or more frequent account statements issued for the
applicable year. If periodic account statements are not
issued, the maximum account value is the largest amount of
currency or non-monetary assets in the account at any time
during the year. Convert foreign currency by using the
official exchange rate at the end of the year.
The value of stock, other securities or other non-monetary
assets in an account reported on
90-22.1 (PDF) is the fair market value at the end of the
calendar year. If the asset is withdrawn from the account,
the value is the fair market value at the time of the
Is an FBAR required if the
account generates neither interest nor dividend income?
Yes, an FBAR must be filed whether or not the
foreign account generates any income.
How do foreign account holders
report their accounts to the IRS?
The holders report their foreign accounts by
completing boxes 7a and 7b on Form 1040 Schedule B and
F 90-22.1 (PDF).
When is the FBAR due?
The FBAR is due by June 30th of the year following
the year that the account holder meets the $10,000
threshold. The granting, by IRS, of an extension to file
Federal income tax returns does not extend the due date for
filing an FBAR. There is no extension available for filing
the FBAR. Note it must be received by this date and cannot
just be postmarked that date.
If an account holder does not have all the available
information to file the return by June 30th, they should
file as complete a return as they can and amend the document
when the additional or new information becomes available.
Where are FBAR forms available?
FBAR forms are available:
Is there a help line for
questions about completing the form?
You can get answers to questions concerning the
FBAR form by calling (800) 800-2877, option 2.
Where do account holders file the
Send completed forms to:
U.S. Department of the Treasury
P.O. Box 32621
Detroit, MI 48232-0621
The FBAR is not to be filed with the filer’s Federal tax
How does an FBAR filer amend a
previously filed FBAR?
FBAR filers can amend a previously filed FBAR by:
Writing the word “Amended” at the top
of a new FBAR form;
Adding or correcting the account
Stapling it to a copy of the original
If the amendment is for a delinquent FBAR,
the filer should also attach an explanation giving the
reasons why the form was not filed timely.
What is the statute of
limitations for assessing civil penalties for violations of
the FBAR requirements?
Civil penalties can be assessed anytime up to six
years after the date of the violation.
How long should account holders
retain records of the foreign accounts?
Records of accounts required to be reported on an
FBAR must be retained for a period of five years. Failure
to maintain required records may result in civil penalties,
criminal penalties, or both.
What happens if an account holder
is required to file an FBAR and fails to do so?
Failure to file an FBAR when required to do so may
potentially result in civil penalties, criminal penalties,
An American citizen, X, gives a
person who is a citizen or resident of the U.S. power of
attorney to X’s Canadian bank accounts. X files an FBAR
form annually. Does the power of attorney also need to file
Yes, because the power of attorney has a financial
interest in the accounts and because he is a U.S. person.
A fiduciary who is a U.S. person
has control as a trustee for an IRA with a foreign
account. Should an FBAR be filed?
Yes, because the fiduciary is a U.S. person.
Does the term “other authority
over a financial account” mean that a person, who has the
power to direct how an account is invested, but who cannot
make disbursements to the accounts, has to file an FBAR?
No, an FBAR is not required because the person has
no power of disposition of money or other property in the
Does more than one form need to
be filed for a husband and wife owning a joint account?
No, if the names and social security numbers of the
joint owners are fully disclosed on the filed FBAR. This is
not stated in the instructions for the FBAR but it is the
practice of the IRS to accept one filing for both when the
names of the joint owners are fully disclosed. This
practice only applies to joint owners who are husband and
wife and who reside at the same address. Other joint owners
must file separate FBARs.
Must a U.S. person file an FBAR
on a Eurodollar account in the Cayman Islands?
Yes, the Cayman Islands account is a foreign
A N.Y. corporation owns a foreign
company that has foreign accounts. The corporation will
file an FBAR for the foreign company’s accounts. Do the
primary owners of the U.S. Company also have to file?
Yes, if any owner directly or indirectly owns more
than 50 percent of the total value of the shares of stock,
that owner will have to file an FBAR.
A company has over 25 foreign
accounts. What should they enter in Part ll of the FBAR?
If the filer holds a financial interest in more
than 25 accounts, indicate the number of accounts in
box 20. Do not complete any further items in Part II. Sign
the form in box 36 and enter the date signed in box 37. Any
person who lists more than 25 accounts in item 20 must
provide all the information called for in Part II when
requested by the Department of the Treasury.
A person is a non-resident alien
living in the U.S. and owns several foreign accounts. Does
that person have to file an FBAR?
Not at this time. The current instructions for the
FBAR form do not include non-resident aliens in its
definition of United States persons. Section 5314(b)(1) of
Title 31 gives the Secretary of the Treasury the discretion
to exempt groups of persons identified in section 5314(a)
from the FBAR filing requirements. Issuing instructions for
the FBAR form is one way the Secretary may exercise this
discretion. Since the FBAR instructions do not require
non-resident aliens to file FBARs, they do not have to file
FBARs. The FBAR instructions are being revised and it is
possible that a change may be made at a later date to
require non-resident aliens to file FBARs. The revision of
the FBAR instructions related to the definition of a U.S.
person may include the use of the “Tax Code Test.” (You may
be considered a U.S. person if you live in the U.S. for 180
days or 30 days with no strong tax home.)
What are the exceptions to the
FBAR filing requirement?
Accounts in U.S. military banking facilities,
operated by a United States financial institution to serve
U.S. Government installations abroad, are not considered as
accounts in a foreign country. For this reason, these
accounts do not have to be reported on an FBAR.
An officer or employee of a bank which is subject to the
Supervision of the
Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the
Federal Reserve System, the Office of Thrift Supervision, or
the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation need not report
that he has signature or other authority over a foreign
bank, securities or other financial account maintained by
the bank, if the officer or employee has NO personal
financial interest in the account.
An officer or employee of a domestic corporation whose
equity securities are listed on a national securities
exchange or which has assets exceeding $10 million and 500
or more shareholders of record, need not file a report
concerning the other signature authority over a foreign
financial account of the corporation, if he has NO personal
financial interest in the account and he has been advised,
in writing, by the chief financial officer of the
corporation that the corporation has filed a current report,
which includes that account.