Updated 2012 & 2011 IRS Requirements: Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

Feb. 1, 2012 Update on New US IRS Requirements for Expats: This new regulation requires expats who have over $50,000 total of foreign financial/savings/checking/investment accounts to file a new form with the IRS every year, starting with our 2011TY filings in 2012. From the IRS website: “Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) IRS Nov. 16, 2012 Update” and “IRS: Summary of Key FATCA Provisions”

Summary of Key FATCA Provisions
“The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), enacted in 2010 as part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, is an important development in U.S. efforts to combat tax evasion by U.S. persons holding investments in offshore accounts.

Under FATCA, certain U.S. taxpayers holding financial assets outside the United States must report those assets to the IRS. In addition, FATCA will require foreign financial institutions to report directly to the IRS certain information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.

Reporting by U.S. Taxpayers Holding Foreign Financial Assets
FATCA requires certain U.S. taxpayers holding foreign financial assets with an aggregate value exceeding $50,000 to report certain information about those assets on a new form (Form 8938) that must be attached to the taxpayer’s annual tax return. Reporting applies for assets held in taxable years beginning after March 18, 2010. For most taxpayers this will be the 2011 tax return they file during the 2012 tax filing season. Failure to report foreign financial assets on Form 8938 will result in a penalty of $10,000 (and a penalty up to $50,000 for continued failure after IRS notification). Further, underpayments of tax attributable to non-disclosed foreign financial assets will be subject to an additional substantial understatement penalty of 40 percent. …”

Another IRS site goes on to describe:
“Form 8938 is required when the total value of specified foreign assets exceeds certain thresholds. For example, a married couple living in the U.S. and filing a joint tax return would not file Form 8938 unless their total specified foreign assets exceed $100,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $150,000 at any time during the tax year.

The thresholds for taxpayers who reside abroad are higher. For example in this case, a married couple residing abroad and filing a joint return would not file Form 8938 unless the value of specified foreign assets exceeds $400,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $600,000 at any time during the year.

Instructions for Form 8938 explain the thresholds for reporting, what constitutes a specified foreign financial asset, how to determine the total value of relevant assets, what assets are exempted, and what information must be provided.

Form 8938 is not required of individuals who do not have an income tax return filing requirement.
“IRS Releases Guidance on Foreign Financial Asset Reporting”

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Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

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8 Responses to Updated 2012 & 2011 IRS Requirements: Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

  1. Alfonso says:

    SCREW FACTA

  2. Julie says:

    Would one’s residence (in a trust) be considered an investment that needed to be reported on that form? Only have about 3K in Mexican checking account. But home is worth over the 50k limit – live in it full time. Tks.

    • yucalandia says:

      Julie,
      The most recent news we’ve heard from the IRS is that you would need to file form 3520A for your trust with the Dept of Treasury. You can check out http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i3520.pdf for descriptions of the current requirements.

      Re FATCA: The IRS website says: ” Form 8938 is required when the total value of specified foreign assets exceeds certain thresholds. For example, a married couple living in the U.S. and filing a joint tax return would not file Form 8938 unless their total specified foreign assets exceed $100,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $150,000 at any time during the tax year.

      The thresholds for taxpayers who reside abroad are higher. For example in this case, a married couple residing abroad and filing a joint return would not file Form 8938 unless the value of specified foreign assets exceeds $400,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $600,000 at any time during the year.http://www.irs.gov/irs/article/0,,id=251216,00.html and http://www.irs.gov/businesses/corporations/article/0,,id=236667,00.html

      I understand that you reside abroad and that your foreign assets are less than $400,000 on the last day of the tax year or more than $600,000 at any time during the year – correct?
      steve

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