FOREIGN BANK ACCOUNT REPORTING (FBAR) UPDATE CORE LAWYER WORKING GROUP SUMMER Caring For Those Who Serve

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1 FOREIGN BANK ACCOUNT REPORTING (FBAR) UPDATE CORE LAWYER WORKING GROUP SUMMER 2010 Caring For Those Who Serve

2 Reminder: What is FBAR? The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts ( FBAR ), Treasury Form TD F , is a creation of the Bank Secrecy Act The FBAR gathers information for the database of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and can be shared with any law enforcement agency that requests it. Form 1040, Schedule B, Part III requires taxpayers to answer whether they have signature authority or a financial interest in any foreign account. 2

3 Who Must File the FBAR Each United States person who has a financial interest in or signature or other authority over any foreign financial accounts, including bank, securities, or other types of financial accounts, in a foreign country, if the aggregate value of these financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year, must report that relationship each calendar year by filing this report with the Department of the Treasury on or before June 30, of the succeeding year. 3

4 Financial Account Any bank, securities, securities derivatives or other financial instruments accounts Any accounts in which the assets are held in a commingled fund and the account owner holds an equity interest in the fund (including mutual funds) Any savings, demand, checking, deposit or any other account (including debit card and prepaid credit card accounts) maintained with a financial institution or other person engaged in the business of a financial institution 4

5 Financial Interest A financial interest exists, among other things, when: A U.S. person is the owner of record or has legal title in a foreign account, whether the account is maintained for the person s benefit or for the benefit of others including non-u.s. persons; or The owner of record or holder of legal title is a person acting as an agent, nominee, attorney or is some other capacity on behalf of the U.S. person. 5

6 Signature or Other Authority A U.S. person has signature authority if that person can control the disposition of money or other property in the account by delivery of a document containing his signature to the bank or other person with whom the account is maintained. A person with other authority over an account is one who can exercise power similar to signature authority by direct communication, either orally or by some other means, to the bank or other person with whom the account is maintained. 6

7 Individual Obligation Even Without a Financial Interest in the Account Special Considerations for Corporations and Corporate Employees Corporations and individual employees who hold signature authority over corporate accounts are required to file an FBAR even if the employee has no personal interest in the account. Therefore, in many instances, at least two FBARs must be filed for each corporate account. An officer or an 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 authority over a foreign financial account of the corporation if s/he has NO personal financial interest in the account and has been advised, in writing, by the CFO that the corporation has filed a current report that includes that account. 7

8 Civil and Criminal Penalties for Failing to File Negligent violation up to $10,000 for each violation Willful failure to file or keep records Civil penalties of up to the greater of $100,000 or 50% of account value. Criminal penalties of up to $350,000, 5 years in jail, or both. Willful failure to file or retain records while violating other laws Civil penalties of up to the greater of $100,000 or 50% of account value. Criminal penalties of up to $500,000, 10 years in jail, or both. Knowingly filing false FBAR Civil penalties of up to the greater of $100,000 or 50% of account value. Criminal penalties of up to $10,000, 5 years in jail, or both. 8

9 Administrative Relief Notice issued Feb Persons with no financial interest in a foreign financial account, but with signature or other authority over that account during 2009 and earlier, have until June 30, 2011, to report their authority. The IRS will not interpret the term commingled fund as applying to funds other than mutual funds with respect to FBARs for CY 2009 and prior years. Thus interests in foreign hedge funds and private equity funds need not be reported. 9

10 Caring For Those Who Serve

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