Most U.S. taxpayers who have signature ability or an interest in a foreign account must file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or FBAR. The FBAR is filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
FinCEN is an agency of the U.S. Department of Treasury, and the FBAR is not part of filing a tax return, explains the IRS. The FBAR must be filed electronically using the BSA E-FilingSystem website. The FBAR is filed directly with FinCEN and is separate from an IRS tax return. When required to file an FBAR, taxpayers may also need to file Form 8938 Statement of Foreign Financial Assets with an IRS tax return. The FBAR and Form 8938 are two separate filing requirements of separate government agencies, and both may need to be made even if the information is duplicated.
Taxpayers who are delinquent in filing a FBAR are encouraged to file late if they have not been contacted by the IRS and are not currently under IRS investigation, recommends the IRS. If all required income tax returns are kept current and all income from foreign accounts is properly disclosed with income tax returns, the IRS does not levy any penalties on taxpayers filing late FBAR forms prior to investigation or requests.