FBAR – Ownership of Accounts and Signature Authority

Ownership of Accounts
Under the instructions to Form TD F 90-22.1, a U.S. person has a financial interest in a bank, securities, or other financial account in a foreign country under either of the following circumstances:

1) A U.S. person is the owner of record or has legal title, whether the account is maintained for his or her own benefit or for the benefit of others including non-U.S. persons. If an account is maintained in the name of two persons jointly, or if several persons own a partial interest in an account, each of those U.S. persons has a financial interest in that account.

2) U.S. person has a financial interest in each bank, securities, or other financial account in a foreign country for which the owner of record or holder of legal title is:

a) A person acting as an agent, nominee, attorney, or in some other capacity on behalf of the U.S. person;

b) A corporation in which the U.S. person owns directly or indirectly more than 50 percent of the total value of shares of stock;

c) A partnership in which the U.S. person owns an interest in more than 50 percent of the profits (distributive share of income); or

d) A trust in which the U.S. person either has a present beneficial interest in more than 50 percent of the assets or from which such person receives more than 50 percent of the current income.

Signature Authority
For purposes of Form TD F 90.22-1, a U.S. person is considered to have signature authority over a foreign financial account if such person can control the disposition of money or other property in the account by delivering his or her signature (or his or her signature and that of one or more other persons) to the bank or other person maintaining the account.

In addition, a U.S. person has “other authority” subject to FBAR reporting if such person can exercise comparable power over an account by direct communication to the bank or other person maintaining the account, either orally or by some other means.

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