How To Report Foreign Bank Accounts to the U.S. Treasury

Couple sitting on wall, man taking photo, Eiffel tower in background

TEEN / RelaXimages / Culture / Getty Images

You might have to fill out the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FinCEN Form 114 or "FBAR") every year if you own or have an interest in any foreign bank accounts or other types of financial accounts that are based outside the United States. This report is filed separately from your income tax return, although the two reports can be interrelated.

Key Takeaways

  • You are required to report financial account information to the federal government, including foreign accounts, if in the course of the year you had over $10,000 in total holdings.
  • The reporting threshold applies to all types of financial institutions such as banks, mutual funds, investment accounts, retirement funds, and life insurance.
  • Failure to report foreign accounts can result in severe fines and even imprisonment.
  • Although filing the FBAR is a separate process than filing your tax return, it may be useful to coordinate since they can share information.

Reporting Foreign Bank Accounts

You must report accounts you hold in foreign banks and other financial institutions if the total balance across all your accounts is $10,000 or more at any time during the calendar year. Reporting includes accounts of which you're the owner, as well as accounts for which you have authority to conduct transactions on behalf of the account owner.

Report each foreign financial account you own or on which you have signature authority using FinCEN Form 114. You'll provide information on all your financial accounts held in foreign countries, such as the name of the bank or financial institution where the account is held, your account number, and the account balance.


The Foreign Bank Account Report is filed for each account holder. Married couples can file separate reports or a single joint report.

Accounts that have multiple account holders or persons with signature authority might have several persons or businesses reporting the same account on separate foreign bank account reports.

Types of Reportable Accounts

The following types of financial accounts must be reported on the Foreign Bank Account Report if you meet the filing requirement threshold:

Income Thresholds for Reporting to the IRS

There are separate thresholds for being required to disclose foreign accounts to the IRS. The threshold starts at total foreign account balances of $50,000 on the last day of the year, or $75,000 at any time during the year for Form 8938 purposes. There are higher reporting thresholds for married couples filing jointly and for Americans living abroad.

Statute of Limitations for Reporting

There's a six-year statute of limitations for the assessment of civil penalties for failing to report. The IRS advises that taxpayers should keep their foreign bank account report for six years.

Penalties for Not Reporting

The Treasury Department can impose penalties for failing to file FinCEN Form 114:

  • The penalty is up to $250,000 and/or up to five years in prison for failure to file or keep records.
  • The penalty is up to $500,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison for any person willfully who violates the requirements to file.
  • The penalty for giving false information is a fine of $10,000, up to five years in prison, or both.

When and Where To File FinCEN Form 114

FinCEN Form 114 is due April 15 of each year to report foreign bank accounts owned in the previous calendar year. FinCEN requires that Form 114 be filed electronically.

The IRS indicates that you should file as soon as possible if you're late filing Form 114, perhaps because you didn't realize that you had to. The filing system allows you to enter previous calendar years. You can explain why you're late.

A blank copy of FinCEN Form 114 can be downloaded from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's FBAR E-Filing page. Click on the link for FinCEN Report 114. The Report is filed directly with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is part of the U.S. Treasury Department. FinCEN requires that foreign bank account reports be filed through the FinCEN website.


You can call the FinCEN Regulatory Helpline at 800-949-2732 (toll-free inside the United States) if you need an alternative to electronic filing. Call 703-905-3975 from outside the U.S. This line is not toll-free.

Coordinating FBAR With Your Return

The foreign bank account report isn't a tax form, and it's not submitted to the IRS, but information relating to the foreign bank accounts might have to be coordinated with information on your tax return.

Income generated inside these foreign financial accounts is reported on the tax return for the year in which the income is earned. You'll report the foreign income based on the type of income being generated. For example, interest and dividends would be reported on Schedule B, whereas capital gains would be reported on Schedule D.


Be sure to check the box in Part III, line 7a of Schedule B, and indicate the country or countries where you have accounts if you earn dividends or interest in these accounts.

You might have to file Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets, with your tax return in some cases. This tax form is separate from the foreign bank account report, although it contains similar information.

Exceptions to Filing

You don't have to report accounts held at U.S. military banking facilities, even if they're located in foreign countries. Military banks are considered to be domestic U.S. banks.

You also don't have to report U.S.-based accounts held by a branch or division of a foreign bank.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does FBAR stand for?

An FBAR is your Foreign Bank Account Report, and it's the form you must file to report an overseas account. It's also called the FinCEN (U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement) Form 114.

How much money can I have in overseas accounts before I have to report it?

If the sum of all your accounts (including both foreign and domestic) exceeds $10,000 at any time during the year, you have to report each account to the IRS.

Do I file the FBAR with my income tax return?

No. The IRS helps to manage and offers guidance on the foreign banks and accounts report, but it is actually handled and processed under the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Treasury. If you are required to file an FBAR you do so electronically via BSA E-Filing System.

Am I still required to pay U.S. taxes if I've been living abroad for years? What if I renounce my citizenship?

If you are still a citizen of the U.S., your foreign income is subject to U.S. taxation, no matter how long you have lived abroad. Expatriates, or those who have renounced their citizenship, are subject to special rules, depending on their particular circumstances. You may be off the hook, but check the IRS guidelines on the subject to see how expatriation works in your case.

Was this page helpful?
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. IRS. "Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts."

  2. IRS. "FBAR Reference Guide."

  3. IRS. "Do I Need to File Form 8938, Statement of Specific Foreign Financial Assets?"

  4. IRS. "Part 8, Chapter 11, Section 6. FBAR Penalties."

  5. IRS. "IRS FBAR Reference Guide." Pages 7-8.

  6. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. "How To File the FBAR Electronically."

  7. U.S. Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. "Report Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts."

  8. IRS. "Summary of FATCA Reporting for U.S. Taxpayers."

  9. IRS. "Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)."

  10. IRS. "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About International Individual Tax Matters."

Related Articles