Foreign Bank Account Report: Penalties for failure to file an FBAR
U.S. persons, including U.S. citizens, residents, corporations and estates, must report certain foreign financial accounts, including bank accounts, brokerage accounts and saving accounts to the U.S. Treasury department each year. If the aggregate value of the foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the year, a ‘Foreign Bank Account Report’ (FBAR) must be filed. The FBAR is due on April 18, 2023. However, you’re allowed an automatic extension to October 16, 2023 if you fail to meet the April 18 due date. You may be subject to penalties if you wilfully or non-wilfully fail to file your FBAR.
Willful and non-willful conduct
Non-willful conduct is conduct that is due to negligence, inadvertence, or mistake or conduct that is the result of a good faith misunderstanding of the requirements of the law. If your failure to file is non-willful, there was no intention to not file and you were not aware you were required to file an FBAR. Willful conduct involves the voluntary and intentional violation of a known legal duty (i.e. not merely a mistake, ignorance, or negligence). Failure to file an FBAR because you disagree with the law is willful.
What are the penalties?
If there is reasonable cause for the failure to file an FBAR and all information is properly reported, no penalty will be imposed. If the failure to file an FBAR is due to non-willful conduct, you may be subject to a penalty of $10,000 per violation. A person who wilfully fails to file an FBAR or files an incomplete or incorrect FBAR, may be subject to a civil monetary penalty of $100,000 or 50% of the balance in the account at the time of the violation, whichever is greater. Willful violations may also be subject to criminal penalties.
I failed to file an FBAR. What to do?
If you failed to file an FBAR, you should still file it as soon as possible. The IRS will not impose a penalty for the failure to file a delinquent FBAR if you have properly reported the income from the accounts on your U.S. tax returns and have not yet been contacted by the IRS.
We can help you
If you failed to file your FBAR, or if you’re concerned that you have filed an incomplete or incorrect FBAR, please contact us.