FBAR Filing: U.S. Permanent Residents

*On 6/24/09, in FAQ #46, the IRS addressed the FBAR filings for U.S. permanent residents (either a “green card”, or a permanent resident [under the “substantial presence” test]):

A taxpayer moved to the U.S. in 2007 and is now a permanent resident of the U.S. The taxpayer had a requirement to file an FBAR for one year but failed to do so. Is the taxpayer subject to a penalty equal to 20 percent of the account?

First, the taxpayer should confirm that the taxpayer had an FBAR filing requirement. Assuming that the taxpayer was required to report the interest earned on the account during the year the taxpayer was in the U.S. and failed to do so, the taxpayer is subject to a penalty based on the high account balance during the year. The penalty may be limited to five percent if the taxpayer did not avoid U.S. tax with respect to the deposits and if the account was passively held during the year the taxpayer was in the U.S. If there was no unreported taxable income related to the unreported foreign accounts that would have been reported on the FBAR, the taxpayer will not be subject to the 20 percent offshore penalty. In that case, the taxpayer should file delinquent FBARs attaching a statement explaining why the FBAR was not timely filed.

*The IRS updated the FAQs Regarding Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) – Filing Requirements on August 3, 2012.

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