The Internal Revenue Service today reminded U.S. citizens and resident aliens, including those with dual citizenship, to check if they have a U.S. tax liability and a filing requirement. At the same time, the agency advised anyone with a foreign bank or financial account to remember the upcoming deadline that applies to reports for these accounts, often referred to as FBARs.
Here is a rundown of key points to keep in mind:
Deadline for reporting foreign accounts
The deadline for filing the annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) is the same as for a federal income tax return. This means that the 2017 FBAR, Form 114, must be filed electronically with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) by April 17, 2018. FinCEN grants filers missing the April 17 deadline an automatic extension until Oct. 15, 2018, to file the FBAR. Specific extension requests are not required. In the past, the FBAR deadline was June 30 and no extensions were available.
In general, the filing requirement applies to anyone who had an interest in, or signature or other authority, over foreign financial accounts whose aggregate value exceeded $10,000 at any time during 2017. Because of this threshold, the IRS encourages taxpayers with foreign assets, even relatively small ones, to check if this filing requirement applies to them.
Reminder: IRS to end Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program
The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program will close on Sept. 28, 2018. Taxpayers with undisclosed foreign financial assets still have time to use OVDP before the deadline. For further details about the OVDP, see the OVDP FAQs.
The IRS noted it will continue to use tools besides voluntary disclosure to combat offshore tax avoidance, including taxpayer education, whistleblower leads, civil examination and criminal prosecution. The IRS continues to use streamlined filing compliance procedures that will remain in place and be available to eligible taxpayers. But, as with OVDP, the IRS said it may end the streamlined filing compliance procedures at some point. Full details of the OVDP and the streamlined filing compliance procedures are available at Options Available for U.S. Taxpayers with Undisclosed Foreign Financial Assets.
Most people abroad need to file
An income tax filing requirement generally applies even if a taxpayer qualifies for tax benefits, such as the Foreign Earned Income exclusion or the Foreign Tax credit, which substantially reduce or eliminate U.S. tax liability. These tax benefits are only available if an eligible taxpayer files a U.S. income tax return.
A special extended filing and payment deadline applies to U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work abroad. For U.S. citizens and resident aliens whose tax home and abode are outside the United States and Puerto Rico, the income tax filing and payment deadline is June 15, 2018. The same applies for those serving in the military outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Interest, currently at the rate of five percent per year, compounded daily, will apply to any payment received after the regular April 17 deadline. See U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad for details.
Nonresident aliens who received income from U.S. sources in 2017 also must determine whether they have a U.S. tax obligation. The filing deadline for nonresident aliens is April 17. See Taxation of Nonresident Aliens on IRS.gov.
Special income tax return reporting for foreign accounts and assets
Federal law requires U.S. citizens and resident aliens to report any worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts. In most cases, affected taxpayers need to complete and attach Schedule B to their tax return. Part III of Schedule B asks about the existence of foreign accounts, such as bank and securities accounts, and usually requires U.S. citizens to report the country in which each account is located.
In addition, certain taxpayers may also have to complete and attach to their return Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets. Generally, U.S. citizens, resident aliens and certain nonresident aliens must report specified foreign financial assets on this form if the aggregate value of those assets exceeds certain thresholds.