It is perfectly legal to have foreign bank and investment accounts. Issues may arise, however if US taxpayers fail to properly disclose the existence of these accounts or the activity in the accounts. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue taxpayers who have undisclosed foreign financial accounts or assets. With the passage of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (known as FACTA) in 2010, the US Government has been receiving a significant amount of information about US taxpayer accounts located outside the US.

Under the Bank Secrecy Act, U.S. taxpayers must disclose their foreign financial accounts if, at any time during the year, the combined total of all their foreign accounts exceeds $10,000. This is the FBAR filing requirement which is reported on FinCEN Form 114. Willfully failing to file an FBAR can result in both criminal sanctions and substantial civil penalties. Even a nonwillful failure can result in significant financial penalties.

The attorneys and tax professionals at Culp Elliott & Carpenter have the ability and experience to support and guide taxpayers:

  • Navigate the complex regulations related to offshore and foreign bank account reporting.
  • Analyze non-US financial accounts for US income tax reporting
  • Prepare required foreign entity disclosure forms such as Form 5471 or Form 8865
  • Prepare informational reporting such as FinCEN 114 and Form 8938
  • Evaluate PFIC tax reporting issues and requirements