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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am a US citizen living in India for the past 7 years during which I have been unemployed. Never knew about FBAR or FATCA until I noticed it while web surfing. So while reading about Streamlined Offshore on irs gov including their webinar transcript, it was stating that the program is only for filing tax and information returns for the past 3 years. Presumably if one has not filed for more than 3 years and one needed to, they cannot enter SFO? I also read blogs on angloinfo.com that seems to confirm my understanding (the tax expert claims that in her conversations with the IRS, they are adamant regarding the 3 years). Does anyone know if this is indeed true?

Also, to throw a twist into this scenario: if in these 5 years I have never had income anywhere close to the yearly filing thresholds (the latter being around $10K), but I have had bank accounts aggregating to more than $10K (but less than $200K or $300K which I think is what triggers form 8938?), does this mean I can go for the SFO because
my situation clearly did not require filing a 1040 (and therefore an 8938) and so I am not really tax return non-compliant, but​
I am FBAR wise non-compliant?​
In other words, can I just submit FBARs for the past 5 years (never had any income/account 6th year backwards) and the 14653 certification?

Or is my situation only covered by OVDP? But wouldn't that sort of imply that I know/think/suspect wilfulness? The more I read about this the more confusing it gets.
 

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The streamlined procedure involves filing back returns for 3 years only. It doesn't matter if you haven't filed for longer than that - you'd be "exonerated" for doing those back 3 years plus the present year. Though you also have to do 6 back years of FBARs.

However, if you have not had income exceeding the filing thresholds, you don't have to file income tax returns. Period. And if you are not required to file a return, you are not required to file a form 8938 because it is only filed as part of an income tax return. (Just note that for determining your relevant income, you should include your entire worldwide income - not just US source income. OTOH, the IRS may or may not have any way of knowing your non-US sources of income.)

Don't bother with the certification. Just file the back FBARs and be done with it. You're not part of any program if you didn't have an income tax filing obligation. In the space where it asks for why you're filing late, you just choose the answer "I didn't know I was supposed to." (or however it's worded these days).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Bev! I was kind of leaning in the direction you have pointed - except I was not sure of the 14653 certification.

As far as the IRS knowing/not knowing about my non-sources of income, the banks I have accounts with in India have affirmed they are sending account information for US nationals since 2013/2014, so I would think my account balances are probably already known to the IRS.
 

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If they are sending "FATCA data" it is only the year end balance of your account. I haven't yet heard of any of the foreign banks sending interest or income information as part of the FATCA disclosures. In fact, in some European countries, the banks specifically advise that they are NOT sending any information regarding the "tax free" accounts (which are not considered tax free by the IRS).
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I am a bit unclear as to the definition of financial interest. In defining a person with financial interest in an account, when it says "US person being the owner of record or legal title" does that specifically refer to the primary holder?
I ask because I am the secondary holder of one of my mother's accounts (she is primary).

If this definition does not include the secondary owner too in its scope of "financial interest", then wouldn't the same account have to be included in FBAR Part III (because of joint ownership) and again in Part IV (because I have signature authority - along with my mother - but with no financial interest)?
 

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If the account is in your name only you would report it Part 2

If the account in more than one name (including yours) you would report it in Part 3.

If the account is in someone else's name but you have signatory authority over the account but no actual financial interest in it you would report it in Part 4.

You only have to report an account once.
 
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