Stephen Merritt, CPA, PC | Certified Public Accountants | (757) 420-5778
233 Business Park Drive, Suite 104, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
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- Do You Have a Bank Account in a Country Outside of the United States?
- Is Your Best Skill Aligned with Your Business Model?
- August Days
- Office Hours
Do You Have a Bank Account in a Country Outside of the United States?
If you have a bank account in a foreign country, you may need to disclose it to a branch of the government that fights financial crimes. This is what tax professionals call FBAR reporting. FBAR stands for Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report.
Your foreign bank accounts may also impact your tax returns. Let’s take a look at this requirement.
FinCEN and FBAR
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that collects and analyzes data on financial transactions for the purposes of protecting the financial system from illicit use and combating domestic and international money laundering and related financial crimes.
If you have a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account (including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account) exceeding certain thresholds, the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) may require you to report the account yearly to the Department of Treasury by electronically filing a FinCEN 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).
Who Must File?
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 reported.
By definition, United States persons include 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.
Exceptions to the Reporting Requirement
There are filing exceptions for the following United States persons or foreign financial accounts:
- Certain foreign financial accounts jointly owned by spouses
- United States persons included in a consolidated FBAR
- Correspondent/Nostro accounts
- Foreign financial accounts owned by a governmental entity
- Foreign financial accounts owned by an international financial institution
- Owners and beneficiaries of U.S. IRAs
- Participants in and beneficiaries of tax-qualified retirement plans
- Certain individuals with signature authority over, but no financial interest in, a foreign financial account
- Trust beneficiaries (but only if a U.S. person reports the account on an FBAR filed on behalf of the trust)
- Foreign financial accounts maintained on a United States military banking facility
Reporting and Filing Information
A person who holds a foreign financial account may have a reporting obligation even when the account produces no taxable income. The reporting obligation is met by answering questions on a tax return about foreign accounts (for example, the questions about foreign accounts on Form 1040 Schedule B) and by filing an FBAR.
The IRS can waive the penalty for failure to timely file or request an extension for any person required to file an FBAR for the first time. Those required to file an FBAR who fail to properly file a complete and correct FBAR may be subject to a civil penalty that generally starts at $10,000 (adjusted for inflation) per violation for non-willful violations that are not due to reasonable cause. For willful violations, the penalty may be the greater of $100,000 (as adjusted for inflation) or 50 percent of the balance in the account at the time of the violation, for each violation.
The FBAR is a calendar year report and is due April 15th of the year following the calendar year being reported, with a 6-month extension available. FinCEN will grant filers failing to meet the FBAR due date of April 15th an automatic extension to October 15th each year. A specific extension request is not required. The FBAR must be filed electronically through Fin-CEN’s BSA E-Filing System. The FBAR is not filed with a federal income tax return.
U.S. Taxpayers Holding Foreign Financial Assets May Also Need to File IRS Form 8938
Taxpayers with specified foreign financial assets that exceed certain thresholds must report those assets to the IRS on Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets, which is filed with an income tax return. Those foreign financial assets could include foreign accounts reported on an FBAR.
The Form 8938 filing requirement is in addition to the FBAR filing requirement. Form 8938 must be filed by certain U.S. taxpayers living in the U.S. and holding foreign financial assets with an aggregate value exceeding $50,000 ($100,000 MFJ) on the last day of the tax year, or more than $75,000 ($150,000 MFJ) at any time during the year.
Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures
Taxpayers who have not filed a required FBAR and are not under a civil examination or a criminal investigation by the IRS, and have not already been contacted by the IRS about a delinquent FBAR, should file any delinquent FBARs and include a statement explaining why the filing is late. Select a reason for filing late on the cover page of the electronic form or enter a customized explanation using the ‘Other’ option. If unable to file electronically you may contact FinCEN’s Regulatory Helpline at 800-949-2732 or 703-905-3975 (if calling from outside the United States) to determine acceptable alternatives to electronic filing.
The IRS will not impose a penalty for the failure to file the delinquent FBARs if income from the foreign financial accounts reported on the delinquent FBARs is properly reported and taxes are paid on your U.S. tax return, and you have not previously been contacted regarding an income tax examination or a request for delinquent returns for the years for which the delinquent FBARs are submitted.
Schedules K-2 and K-3 – Do They Impact the FBAR?
The new K-2 and K-3 schedules must be filed by all pass-through entities (partnerships, S corporations, etc.) with items of international tax relevance, including those with foreign partners and international activities. These new schedules were created to provide more clarity for shareholders and partners as it relates to calculating their U.S. income tax liability or international-related deductions, credits, etc. (for example, information necessary to fill out the Foreign Tax Credit form and calculate the credit amount).
However, these schedules are separate from the FBAR filing, which involves disclosing an interest in and/or authority over certain foreign accounts, and doesn’t directly impact income tax liability or calculation of deductions and credits. While the passthrough entities subject to the K-2/K-3 filing requirements may have their own FBAR filing requirements as it pertains to the accounts that are generating the income/deduction/other items reported on these schedules, this is not necessarily related to any FBAR reporting requirement at the individual shareholder/partner level.
Foreign bank accounts, foreign income, and foreign taxes are highly complex in their reporting requirements and their effect on taxes. It is recommended that you work with your tax professional to ensure that you are fully in compliance with disclosing all the required foreign activity and data that pertains to your specific situation.
Is Your Best Skill Aligned with Your Business Model?
When starting a business, most entrepreneurs excel at the specific technical skill set they need in order to deliver their services and products to clients. For example, if you own a bike shop, you are pretty great at all things related to bikes. If you own a law firm, you are probably good at practicing law. This skill is your core skill.
As your business grows, you need different skills beyond your core skill in order to thrive. That skill depends on the type of business model you want to succeed at. Here are some examples of business models and the key skill you need to be outrageously successful.
People-Based Business Model = Leadership
If your business is one of the 25 percent of small businesses that have employees and you have a team that serves customers, then you most likely have a people-based business model. The revenue you earn is dependent on how your people perform and serve clients.
Some examples would be a mid-sized law firm, a nail salon, a marketing agency, and a mid-sized plumbing company. Each one has a team of people that generate revenue.
These people need to be hired, trained, and motivated, and that is where the skill comes in. If you have a business model like this, you need to excel at leadership, which includes managing people as well as hiring and firing. You need to be great at developing a productive, happy team in order to reach your highest pinnacle of success. Your core skill is still needed, but without leadership skills, you won’t grow as much as you could.
Acquisition-Based Business Model = Negotiation
Some companies grow through acquisition of other companies. In this case, your top skill should be negotiation; you will need to make excellent deals to keep your business growing.
Project-Based Business Model = Project Management
If your job revolves around delivering large projects, such as construction, possibly IT companies, and some real estate, then your business model might be project-based. While knowing how to be a general contractor might be your core skill, your top skill should become project management.
How well you manage the project timeline, delivery of materials, and management of the right number of people with the right skill at the right time all factors into completing the project as quickly and profitably as you can, with the quality needed so you can move to the next one.
Volume-Based Business Model = Merchandising
If moving high quantities of products or services is your business model, then your revenue depends on volume and how much you can sell. Some examples of these types of firms include grocery stores, software companies, some retail stores, and wholesalers.
How you display and market your products will affect how many customers you can get in the door and how fast you can sell. Your top skill should become merchandising and all things marketing.
Your Top Skill Is No Longer Your Core Skill
These four types of business models serve as a sampling to show that once you achieve some level of success, your core skill will no longer be the keystone to further success. Developing skills beyond your core skill will take you farther than you ever imagined you could go with your business.
Here are some Days to Celebrate in August!
August 4th – U.S. Coast Guard Birthday
Semper Paratus – Always Ready
Since 1790, the U.S. Coast Guard has kept the nation’s waterways safe. This year, the U.S. Coast Guard celebrates it’s 232 Birthday!
August 17th – National Black Cat Appreciation Day
Celebrate your fluffy companion or your favorite pop culture black cat, like Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Thackery Binx in Hocus Pocus or Luna from Sailor Moon!
August 19th – National Potato Day
“Po-tay-toes! Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew. Lovely big golden chips with a nice piece of fried fish.” – Samwise Gamgee
If you’re like Sam and enjoy your spuds, celebrate the versatile and
ap-peeling favorite starchy veggie today!
August 26th – National Dog Day
National Dog Day was first established in 2004 to raise awareness about adopting these adorable buddies who are currently in rescue centers. Embrace today by giving your fluffy companion some pets and attention (maybe some treats)!
August 30th – National Beach Day
Everyone loves a good day at the beach, minus a certain Skywalker who hates sand (its course and rough – and it gets everywhere). Spend the day at the beach and take in the world’s aquatic playground! Just remember to do your part and leave no trace!
Office Hours: May 2, 2022 – December 2, 2022
Monday – Thursday
8 AM to 5 PM
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Stephen Merritt, CPA, P.C. understands the challenge the impact COVID-19 has on our community.
Fully-Vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask while in our office.
Unvaccinated or not Fully-Vaccinated individuals must wear masks and follow COVID-19 protocol, such as social distancing, while in our office to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Tax documents may be mailed, FAXed, emailed, uploaded to client portal, or dropped off.
Final Returns can be picked up or mailed out.
As always, please call, we are happy to assist.
Stay safe and healthy!