Reporting Foreign Offshore Bank Accounts

Reporting Foreign Offshore Bank Accounts


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Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts


If you own a foreign bank account, stock account, mutual fund, unit trust, or other financial account, then you may be required to file a Treasury Department Form 90-22.1, which provides in part as follows:

This form should be used to report financial interest in or signature authority or other authority over one or more bank accounts, securities accounts, or other financial accounts in foreign countries as required by the Department of the Treasury Regulations (31 CFR 103). You are not required to file a report if the aggregate value of the accounts did not exceed $10,000. SEE INSTRUCTIONS ON BACK FOR DEFINITIONS. File this form with Dept. of the Treasury, P.O. Box 32621, Detroit, MI 48232

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INSTRUCTIONS

A. Who Must File a Report -- Each United States person who has a financial interest in or signature authority or other authority over a bank, securities, or other financial accounts in a foreign country, which exceeds $10,000 in aggregate value at any time during the calendar year, must report that relationship each calendar year by filing TD F 90-22.1 with the Department of the Treasury on or before June 30, of the succeeding year.

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B. United States Person -- The term "United States person" means (1) a citizen or resident of the United States, (2) a domestic partnership, (3) a domestic corporation, or (4) a domestic estate or trust.

D. Account in a Foreign Country -- A "foreign country" includes all geographical areas located outside the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Learn more about offshore trusts here, domestic trusts here and generalized asset protection strategies here.

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F. Bank, Financial Account -- The term "bank account" means a savings, demand, checking, deposit, loan or any other account maintained with a financial institution or other person engaged in the business of banking. It includes certificates of deposit.

The term "securities account" means an account maintained with a financial institution or other person who buys, sells, holds, or trades stock or other securities for the benefit of another.

The term "other financial account" means any other account maintained with a financial institution or other person who accepts deposits, exchanges or transmits funds, or acts as a broker or dealer for future transactions in any commodity on (or subject to the rules of) a commodity exchange or association.

G. Financial Interest -- A financial interest in a bank, securities, or other financial account in a foreign country means an interest described in either of the following two paragraphs:

(1) A United States person has a financial interest in each account for which such person is the owner of records or has legal title, whether the account is maintained for his or her own benefit or for the benefit of other including non-United States persons. If an account is maintained in the name of two persons jointly, or if several persons each own a partial interest in an account, each of those United States persons has a financial interest in that account.

(2) A United States person has a financial interest in each bank, securities, or other financial account in a foreign country for which the owner of record or holder of legal title is: (a) a person acting as an agent, nominee, attorney, or in some other capacity on behalf of the U.S. person; (b) a corporation in which the United States person owns directly or indirectly more than 50 percent of the total value of shares of stock; (c) a partnership in which the United States person owns an interest in more than 50 percent of the profits (distributive share of income); or (d) a trust in which the United States person either has a present beneficial interest in more than 50 percent of the assets or from which such person receives more than 50 percent of the current income.

H. Signature or Other Authority Over an Account --

Signature Authority -- A person has signature authority over an account if such person can control the disposition of money or other property in it by delivery of a document containing his or her signature (or his or her signature and that of one or more other persons) to the bank or other person with whom the account is maintained.

Other authority -- exists in a person who can exercise comparable power over an account by direct communication to the bank or other person with whom the account is maintained, either orally or by some other means.

I. Account Valuation -- For items 7, 9, [of the form] and Instruction A, the maximum value of an account is the largest amount of currency and non-monetary assets that appear on any quarterly or more frequent account statement issued for the applicable year. If periodic statements are not so issued, the maximum account asset value is the largest amount of currency and non-monetary assets in the account at any time during the year.

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O. Penalties -- For criminal penalties for failure to file a report, supply information, and for filing a false or fraudulent report see 31 U.S.C. 5322(a), 31 U.S.C. 5322(b), and 18 U.S.C. 1001.

Would this include a debit card? Yes! -- Many offshore service providers will tell you that they will own the account, but you will get a debit card to use, and the debit card does not trigger the filing of the TD F 90-22.1. This is completely false, as a debit card clearly constitutes authority over the account. Use of a debt card for an unreported account over $10,000 is tax evasion.

Will the filing of this form cause me to get hung up in Customs or audited? This is a stupid question, if you think about it. The Treasury Department is looking for people who don't file the form, not those who have filed it. If you shuffle tens of thousands of dollars in and out of the country by wire-transfer every year and then don't file the TD F 90-22.1, you can pretty much count on being audited and then forever hung up in Customs.

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