I personally own a foreign bank account exceeding the specified amount. I'm a resident alien (received green card in February 2013), my husband and I both entered the US in July 2011. The only income is his. For now I'm a housewife with no income, totally dependent on my husband. He did joint income filing for 2011-2013. Do I need to file the FBAR or not? Thank you.
As stated in the IRS FBAR Guidance: "United States persons are required to file an FBAR if:
1.The United States person had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States; and
2.The aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year to be reported.
United States person includes U.S. citizens; U.S. residents; entities, including but not limited to, corporations, partnerships, or limited liability companies, created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States; and trusts or estates formed under the laws of the United States." There are several exceptions to this rule, read more here: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Report-of-Foreign-Bank-and-Financial-Accounts-FBAR
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The short answer is yes. The FBAR system is simply keeping track of the usage of off shore accounts by US Taxpayers. Whether you earn money from the account or not, the reporting is required. The penalties that can be associated with failure to file the FBAR are confiscatory in nature and you could not only loose the value of the account in penalty, but still be liable for additional penalties.
This information is provided as a service generally and is not intended to answer any specific questions from any specific individual. No attorney client relationship is created by answering these forum questions and all readers are encouraged to seek out a competent attorney to speak with that is licensed to practice in your respective state.
Since you haven't filed the FBAR in the past, you should consult with tax counsel to determine the risk related to unreported periods, as well as taking advantage of any kind of amnesty programs.
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