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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi,

Hope I didn't skip this post, but I been reading a lots on this forums and I'm still not sure which account I need to declared for the FBAR.

In Quebec (Canada), our bank, Caisse Populaire Desjardins, when you open an account give you automatically a Check, Saving, RRSP and Social account (need to put $5 in this account and leave it there, don't ask). Plus they offer a line of Credit and Credit Card. Since I have 2 accounts (personal and couple), I have to double everything.

Do we have to report and what is the type for the following account:
- Line of Credit?
- Credit Card?
- Social account?
- TFSA (Tax Free Saving Account)?

Do we have to report $0 account?

Thanks
Albator73
 

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What I have done in the past (and gotten away with) is to report these "multiple" accounts all together. If there is a "main" account that groups the checking, savings and whatever other accounts, report that account number and then for the maximum balance, just combine the balances. The theory is that by knowing the "main" account information they have access to the whole account.

In your case, I'd report one account for your personal group of accounts and one for the couple group of accounts. As long as they are in the same bank and reported together, that should suffice.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Merci Bev and all other.

Yeah! In 3 month of going over fear, sleepiness, nightmare, try understanding, searching info and finally requesting all bank account archive and compiling data. I finally send all my FBAR. What a relief.

I finally left all accounts since everything was already enter except for line of credit and credit card. It was more easy I tough, after you made you spreadsheet with all the numbers. I use the IRS average annual currency to convert In US.

Only place I'm still not sure is about what type TFSA ( Tax free saving account) is. I play safe since it is not tax and enter "bank" instead of "security" or other.

I had a small letter of explanation and mail all 6 year together. Et voila!
FBAR CHECK!

Albator73
 

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Congratulations! Despite the "shock and awe" campaign they seem to have conducted in Canada on the subject, for the FBAR forms at least it seems what they actually are looking for is a good faith "best effort" and nothing more. I once had them come back to me with a question on the FBAR form I had filed - I answered it and that was the end of it. So, well done!
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Congratulations! Despite the "shock and awe" campaign they seem to have conducted in Canada on the subject, for the FBAR forms at least it seems what they actually are looking for is a good faith "best effort" and nothing more. I once had them come back to me with a question on the FBAR form I had filed - I answered it and that was the end of it. So, well done!
Cheers,
Bev

Bev, you're certainly a great wealth of information and I certainly thank you for that.


Do you know if you need to file mortgage accounts on the FBAR as well?
What about standard credit cards (ie not pre-paid)?
 

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Bev, you're certainly a great wealth of information and I certainly thank you for that.


Do you know if you need to file mortgage accounts on the FBAR as well?
What about standard credit cards (ie not pre-paid)?
AFAIK you don't include mortgages nor credit cards on the FBAR (at least I don't). FBAR are for financial accounts. I believe it's the FATCA forms which, if you're required to file them, want all your financial contracts as well as bank and investment accounts.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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AFAIK you don't include mortgages nor credit cards on the FBAR (at least I don't). FBAR are for financial accounts. I believe it's the FATCA forms which, if you're required to file them, want all your financial contracts as well as bank and investment accounts.
Cheers,
Bev

Bev, I appreciate the insight as always.

It looks like FACTA is also concerned with financial accounts (which have a positive value so loans would be excluded) rather than hard assets (house, cars, etc).

Is this assessment correct or am I missing something?
 

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I have been cautious and reported virtually anything that could be arguably a financial account including my travel card, paypal, alertpay, pre-paid telephone sims, and even my credit card because I have sometimes overpaid it and thus sometimes had a positive cash balance on it. Plus, of course, the more obvious types of accounts such as saving, checking, investment brokerage account, pension plan, etc. Better to over-report when in doubt.
 

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Are people really having to report their Paypal accounts too? I wouldn't have thought of that in a million years. :eek:

Too bad someone can't make up a master checklist of accounts for the FBAR reporting requirements.

Anyway I spoke to my accountant in the US and was told that mortgages, credit cards and other items which remain negative at all times throughout the year do not need to be reported on the FBAR (if you overpaid them, then perhaps you should be reporting). However, mortgage accounts that support the transfer of funds (such as what Caisse Populaire issues attached to a mortgage.....checking, savings, social acct, etc) do need to be reported since they often have a temporary positive balance. I think on a mortgage account using Bev's method of conglomerating all your positive accounts and summing the balance will work fine since later when the banks are forced to report in 2014 they will likely only be asking for the year ending balance on any accounts (and probably only ones with over $50,000 in assets). If you do carry large balances on any accounts (over $50k), it may be better to break that out individually. It was also suggested by my US accountant that in the past if you had forgotten to add an account, that you should just begin adding it right away to your FBAR forms when you next file (essentially follow an "in compliance from this date forward" principle). Then worst case if you are formally audited, the examiner can't argue that the account was hidden or not disclosed.

I don't have any experience to amending the FBAR going backward (or if there is even a need) so if anyone has any experience (penalties? letters?) or advice (contrary to what was given to me) on that I would be all ears.

Luckily I fall short of FACTA at this point, but hopefully they don't begin lowering the limits later.
 

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I agree with your accountant. Report enough to show you're not hiding anything, but report in gross wherever you can.

Frankly, unless you have large or complex financial holdings, the IRS is mainly going to be concerned with the current balances being reported by the foreign banks and financial institutions - not with combing prior years' balances for minor and unintentional errors. Then there is the question of just what the banks are going to be reporting come 2014 or whenever they are supposed to report on US persons' accounts.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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UStoCA, I feel it's safer to err on caution and over-report because all it is a nuisance more than anything else. After all, I have had positive balances on both my credit card balance and paypal so felt it was safest to go ahead and report it on both the Fbar and 8938.
 

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UStoCA, I feel it's safer to err on caution and over-report because all it is a nuisance more than anything else. After all, I have had positive balances on both my credit card balance and paypal so felt it was safest to go ahead and report it on both the Fbar and 8938.

I don't disagree at all, I was just surprised because I hadn't even thought of a Paypal account.......just shows how easy it is to have a simple/innocent oversight when trying to report all your accounts.

Requirements for form 8938 outside the US (you must be over one of those limits to need the form):
You are required to do the filing of 8938 if the total value of your specified foreign financial assets is more than $200,000 on the last day of the year or more than $300,000 at any time during the year.

Luckily it only covers financial assets and not physical assets like cars, houses, boats, jewelry, coins, etc.....what a PITA that would be.
 

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I'm of the opinion that if one makes a good faith effort to comply, or as in my case correct past mistakes, that the IRS and DOJ will be understanding (though I still wound up owing a five figure sum in double taxation to the US). I was very upset, naturally, but accept that I should have taken my US citizenship into account when doing my fibancial planning from the UK.
However, I'm an anomaly as most expats will not owe any taxes.

In my view, though the IRS would prefer expats with compliance issues to enter into OVDI so they can get 27.5% misc FBAR penalties on foreign account balances, they still appear to be accepting quiet disclosures and delinquent fbars with reasonable cause letters though you still need to seek a professional opinion. Good luck!

I was over the threshold so had to file 8938 too.
 

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I'm of the opinion that if one makes a good faith effort to comply, or as in my case correct past mistakes, that the IRS and DOJ will be understanding (though I still wound up owing a five figure sum in double taxation to the US). I was very upset, naturally, but accept that I should have taken my US citizenship into account when doing my fibancial planning from the UK. However, I'm an anomaly as most expats will not owe any taxes.

In my view, though the IRS would prefer expats with compliance issues to enter into OVDI so they can get 27.5% misc FBAR penalties on foreign account balances, they still appear to be accepting quiet disclosures and delinquent fbars with reasonable cause letters though you still need to seek a professional opinion. Good luck!

I was over the threshold so had to file 8938 too.

Mona Lisa, I'm terribly sorry to hear you got caught up in all this nonsense going on, but I agree you probably had more than enough foreign assets where legal counsel and an accountant should be a mandatory first step. If you decided not to go into the OVDI, personally I think you made the right choice since I believe it is a government scam set up more to ensnare residents in the US than those abroad, but I'm no lawyer and it's important to always weigh all your options.

In my case I was very lucky that my only significant asset (other than just general wages) was an investment account in the US (so no FBAR) which I did not have until after I immigrated to Canada (otherwise the US could claim the account for taxation). Under this premise, the tax treaty applied and all my taxable gains were owed to Canada since the gains rates here are higher than in the US (on long term gains anyway........Canada makes no distinction between long or short tem gains). I then had to turn around and file foreign tax credits on my US return which brought my taxes to nothing. Had I owned a pension, investment account or RRSP (like 401k) in Canada, my situation could have been quite different. I agree with you, bottom line is that if you have money worth investing, you should be spending money on top notch tax planning advice as well.

I think the biggest issue right now is that even people with very limited assets who may have omitted accounts with tiny balances fear massive penalties for the FBAR. This is where I think the program spawns massive badwill across the globe and it remains to be seen how other countries will push back on the 2014requirements.
 

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I emailed my accountant about including Paypal on your FBAR and his comment was that it is a US company (owned by eBay and therefore no FBAR) that is simply holding your money in a foreign currency and uses foreign bank accounts (which are reportable) to transmit or recieve any funds. Looking online it appears that some experts (both lawyers and accountants) are giving advice on both sides about whether to report it or not. My big concern with Paypal is that your account number is your email address (unless I'm mistaken) and I absolutely don't trust the government to have my email address under any circumstances (not that there's anything to hide, but that smacks of communist type privacy invasion IMHO).

It will be very interesting in the coming months and years to see how this all plays out but I'll bet money when the foreign banks start feeling the IRS pain to report like we are, the foreign diplomatic pressure will be enormous to reverse or at least seriously neuter the current FBAR and FACTA regulations passed by congress. So until then, keep burying them in paper. :D
 

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Just to add to what I said above, here's the definition of a financial account from the IRS:

A financial account includes a:

Bank account, such as a savings, demand, checking, deposit, time deposit, or any other account maintained with a financial institution or other person engaged in the business of a financial institution. A bank account set up to secure a credit card account is an example of a financial account. An insurance policy having a cash surrender value is an example of a financial account.

Securities, securities derivatives, or other financial instruments account.

Other financial accounts generally encompass any accounts in which the assets are held in a commingled fund and the account owner holds an equity interest in the fund. A mutual fund account is an example of such an account.

Individual bonds, notes, or stock certificates held by the filer are not a financial account.

Clearly they have excluded such accounts as credit cards, but have included supporting accounts. I believe Paypal also falls outside the definition at this point, but again I would suppose if you were selling items (ie making money) or recieving money and transferring it back into other accounts (especially if you should be paying taxes on the money), it would be worth reporting. I think Paypal will be also be required to provide 1099k forms to people for income reporting at some point too but not sure when that comes into effect.
 

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It will be very interesting in the coming months and years to see how this all plays out but I'll bet money when the foreign banks start feeling the IRS pain to report like we are, the foreign diplomatic pressure will be enormous to reverse or at least seriously neuter the current FBAR and FACTA regulations passed by congress. So until then, keep burying them in paper. :D
There is also the question of exactly how much "pressure" the IRS can (or will) apply to foreign banks and other financial institutions in 2014. The banks that are dumping US customers and refusing to open new accounts for US persons are mostly those in Germany and Switzerland. The Germans are well known for following rules no matter how stupid they may be, and the Swiss have been the targets of the US (and other countries') money laundering and "offshore" account investigations for years because of the notoriety of secret Swiss accounts.

I recently met with my bank here in France and they hadn't heard a word about all this, didn't really care when I "declined to reply" when asked if I had retained my US nationality when I took French citizenship (they just wanted my French i.d. card number for their files) and frankly if the IRS ever looked twice at my bank, I'd be amazed. I get the feeling the French banks answer "to a higher power" (namely the Banque de France).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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FBAR Reception – How To Verify?

Hi ...

Sorry if this was already mentioned elsewhere, I was looking and couldn't find it ...

Is there a simple way to confirm that one's FBAR filing has actually been received once it is sent off?

I've managed to get my 1040 reporting up to date and confirmed reception however those same individuals cannot comment on if the FBAR reports made it – different department.

I've found US-only toll free numbers that don't work from Canada, and nothing else.

Maybe there's a phone number? An email address?

Just wondering. Maybe 'no news is good news' ... but negative confirmation isn't always the best strategy with important documents.

Thanks for any info!

CR
 

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Hi ...

Sorry if this was already mentioned elsewhere, I was looking and couldn't find it ...

Is there a simple way to confirm that one's FBAR filing has actually been received once it is sent off?

I've managed to get my 1040 reporting up to date and confirmed reception however those same individuals cannot comment on if the FBAR reports made it – different department.

I've found US-only toll free numbers that don't work from Canada, and nothing else.

Maybe there's a phone number? An email address?

Just wondering. Maybe 'no news is good news' ... but negative confirmation isn't always the best strategy with important documents.

Thanks for any info!

CR

I've just been sending mine registered mail or at least with a tracking number so I have proof it was recieved.

It costs a bit more but I've never had any issues thus far using that strategy.
 
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