How to: FBAR Filing Online

December 18, 2023 | | 3 minute read
Expat Tax Blog. Tax Tips for US Americans abroad.

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Man using a laptop for FBAR filing online.

Even if you’re not obligated to file U.S. taxes as an American abroad, you might still be required to report your foreign financial accounts to FinCEN, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. In this article, we’ll delve into who needs to file an FBAR, the timeframe for filing, and the process of submitting an FBAR online.

What is the FBAR? 

Whether you are a new expat or have been abroad for several years, you may have heard of the Foreign Bank Account Report. However, you may not know what it is yet. 

The FBAR is a mandatory form to file annually with FinCEN. Be warned: failing to file an FBAR when you are required to, can lead to very hefty fines! If you have a total max value of $10,000 or more combined from all your foreign financial accounts, you must file the FBAR. 

Who Needs to File an FBAR? 

  • US Expats living abroad with foreign accounts, 
  • US Citizens living in the US with foreign accounts,
  • Green Card Holders/ Resident Aliens with foreign accounts,|
  • Any American abroad whose combined maximum balances of their foreign financial accounts reaches $10,000 or more at any point during the calendar year. This includes accounts you have signature authority over or financial interest in.  

Remember, you may also need to report things such as: 

  • Foreign retirement accounts
  • Foreign mutual funds (life insurance, annuity contract) 
  • Assets in a foreign branch of a US financial institution 
  • Foreign investments (stocks)

Is FBAR filing online possible? 

FBAR filing online in just 3 steps

Thankfully, filing your FBAR online from abroad is simple. Typically US expat taxpayers have been able to file their reports through FinCEN’s BSA E-filing system because FBARs are not part of federal tax returns. 

Thankfully, MyExpatTaxes is making things easier! Now you can file your FBAR using MyExpatFBAR. An online tool with live chat access to help answer your questions along the way. That also includes unlimited foreign financial accounts.

Do I need to file an FBAR if I don’t owe US Taxes? 

The quick and simple answer is: yes! Even if you have no income, you may still be required to file an FBAR annually. Willfully failing to file your FBAR can be considered a felony and can result in substantial penalties of up to $100,000 or 50% of the account balance at the end of the year. 

What if I’m not required to file a US tax return? 

Even if you’re not mandated to file a US tax return, you might still be obligated to submit an FBAR. Consider this scenario: as an American spouse residing abroad, if your income doesn’t meet the filing threshold but your name is linked to a foreign account, such as a shared bank account with your spouse, and the balance hits or exceeds $10,000, you are legally required to file an FBAR. This includes declaring all your foreign financial accounts, including joint accounts, on the form.

If you DO need to file a US tax return, you can still file via MyExpatTaxes and your FBAR will be automatically included!

Late & past FBAR filing online

As stated above, wilfully not filing an FBAR or multiple FBARs is considered a felony. However, there is an amnesty program for expats to fix their (honest) mistake of not filing or for filing errors. This program is called the Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedure. As long as you are not under a civil examination or criminal investigation by the IRS and/ or have not been contacted by the IRS about delinquent FBARs, you can use the program. 

Once you have read the instructions, you may use MyExpatFBAR to file late FBARs. We’ll automatically classify your filing to be under this amnesty program.

When should you file the FBAR? 

You should file your FBAR by October 15th of the following tax year. For example, you can file your 2023 FBAR until October 15, 2024. Keep in mind the due date of the FBAR is April 15th. However, there is an automatic extension to October 15th, hence why the real due date is later!

Getting additional help filing the FBAR yourself online 

Let MyExpatTaxes help you correctly file your FBAR online. While filing with our software that you won’t find anywhere else, you can access online support with a tax professional and in our HelpCenter or other FBAR articles! 

Can I file through MyExpatFBAR if I filed my taxes elsewhere? 

Of course! While filing your US Tax Return and FBAR with MyExpatTaxes will be more affordable, we understand if you have already filed through another company. You can choose our “FBAR Plan” if the company you’ve chosen doesn’t have it. Using our FBAR Plan allows for you to digitally submit your FBAR to FinCEN even if you have filed elsewhere. 

Written by MacKenzie P

December 18, 2023 | | 3 minute read

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