FinCEN Form 114, also known as the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), has been used to combat tax evasion and money laundering since 1970. This is done by requiring individuals and entities in the US to report foreign financial accounts they have interest in, or authority over, to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. This would include bank accounts, securities accounts, or other foreign accounts. FinCEN Form 114 should not be confused with IRS Form 8938 Statement of Specified Financial Assets, which has different reporting thresholds and filing requirements.


Who needs to file:

The FBAR is an informational report required to be filed each calendar year during which a US citizen or entity has an aggregate amount greater than $10,000 in any foreign financial account(s) at any time during the calendar year. This can include things like foreign pensions and insurance plans, as well as foreign stock holdings held in accounts outside of the US. Foreign stock held in US financial accounts are not required to file the annual FBAR.

When and how to file:

The FBAR is filed electronically, separately from your federal tax return. The annual deadline for Form 114 is April 15th, with an automatic extension to October 15th. To determine if your account values exceed $10,000, you first must find the maximum value of currency and non-monetary assets for the year, convert to US dollars from any local currency, then finally aggregate all other accounts to determine if you have a filing requirement. The following are some examples of common situations when an FBAR needs to be filed.

Example 1: Joe, a US citizen, has 3 bank accounts with 3 separate Canadian banks. In 2023, the maximum value for these accounts, when converted to USD, was $2,000, $7,000, and $1,500. Joe will need to file an FBAR, because the aggregate value of his accounts was $10,500, which exceeds the $10,000 reporting threshold.

Example 2: Amy, a dual citizen of the US and UK, has a UK based pension from the time they spent working there. The maximum value of the account for the year was $20,000 USD. They will need to file an annual FBAR until the account is below the threshold or transferred to a financial account in the US.


There is no penalty for playing it safe and reporting accounts that may not need to be reported. The Statute of Limitations for civil FBAR penalties is 6 years from the original filing due date. The maximum civil penalty for non-willful violations is $10,000 per report. Penalties can reach a maximum of $100,000 or 50% of the account balance if reporting was willfully violated.


We understand that the reporting requirements might be somewhat complicated, especially in cases where you have signature authority over a foreign account. If you feel like you have a situation that may require you to file an FBAR, please reach out to discuss this possibility.