IRS Update on FBAR for US Citizens, Dual Citizens or Residents Living Outside the US

The IRS has issued new guidance on how penalties are determined when a US citizen, dual citizen or permanent resident lives outside the US and has not filed tax returns or reported foreign bank accounts (FBAR).  In many cases penalties would be waived altogether.

In many cases, the US citizen has complied with the tax requirements in their country of residence.  But US filings have not been made for years.

Often in these cases no US tax is owed because of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion or the Foreign Tax Credit.   In addition, there's usually no tax penalty either as the penalty is based on the amount of the tax which is "zero".

FBAR Deadline

The FBAR filing deadline is June 30 every year for the preceding year.  It is important that the FBAR forms be filed on time as there is no provision for extension.  Also the forms must be received by the deadline, not just postmarked.

Anyone with foreign accounts or foreign assets should know about the Offshore Voluntary Initiative Disclosure and the new Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act requirements.  Both of these are summarized below.