US expat who've been filing my taxes, but literally just learned about FBAR filing

10 posts in this topic

Am I too late?

I moved to Germany in winter of 2016 for graduate school, transferred to a German bank acct just the minimum required (around €16k give or take, for two years) and had a part time job, but as the gross income did not exceed the IRS specified amount I was informed I wouldn't have to file taxes. I graduated in spring of 2019 and started working, and yes, I filed US federal and state, claiming the foreign tax credit.

 

Then I literally just stumbled upon FBAR filing whilst reading an online article, and, well, guess I'm screwed? 2016 and 2017 I held a foreign account >10k USD, perhaps for a year or two the account dipped below 10k as I was finishing my thesis, and then this year it went above 10k again. But the question is: Do I still run the risk of getting penalized for filing the FBAR retroactively for previous years?

 

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When I wrote mine it was more the latter. “Had no idea, I promise to never forget this again etc”

worked just fine, and my tax people also approved that it was appropriate. 

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3 hours ago, Pandekage said:

Thanks. Any idea as to how detailed the explanation for delinquent filing has to be? Something in lawyer-speak, or literally "I had no idea, was a bright-eyed expat :( "?


Short and to the point is best.  

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11 minutes ago, Space Cowboy said:


Short and to the point is best.  

Don´t spout your anti-TT propaganda here.:lol:

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11 hours ago, willowhands said:

When I wrote mine it was more the latter. “Had no idea, I promise to never forget this again etc”

worked just fine, and my tax people also approved that it was appropriate. 

Glad it turned out alright. Is this something simple enough to do your/myself, esp. given my situation? i.e. as a student working part time, only last year working full time.

 

When I was still panicking after learning about FBAR I contacted the Greenback CPA office and was quoted $100 per year. Not sure if that would really be necessary.

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Can’t answer that for you. I find American taxes so much more complicated than German and really didn’t want to mess the amnesty process up so I chose to pay professionals to take care of it for me. The only thing they didn’t do was write the apology statement for me, as it really does have to be a personal statement. 

My case was different than yours though, as I had to back-file taxes as well. Perhaps filing only FBARs is much simpler?

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Unlike tax penalties which can be automatically calculated, imposed, assessed and collected by the IRS's computer, FBAR penalties require the involvement of the IRS's carbon-based units, i.e. humans. These are in very short supply.  And, in the extremely unlikely event they write you and ask for penalty money, if you simply say "no", their collection options are those set forth in the Federal Debt Collection Act.  These are slow, cumbersome, inefficient and require lots of man hours and institutional attention; all in short supply.

 

The IRS has no budget for such penny ante nonsense.

 

When filling out Form 114 you will be prompted to explain your tardiness.

 

The Form conveniently has a drop-down menu of excuses.

 

Pick the one that applies.

 

File it.

 

Then go and sin no more.

 

@willowhands
 

Your experience differs from that of the OP in that you apparently had delinquent tax returns to file as well and used whatever benefits the so-called "streamlined procedure" offers to get right with all tax and info filings.

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8 hours ago, Straightpoop said:

Unlike tax penalties which can be automatically calculated, imposed, assessed and collected by the IRS's computer, FBAR penalties require the involvement of the IRS's carbon-based units, i.e. humans. These are in very short supply.  And, in the extremely unlikely event they write you and ask for penalty money, if you simply say "no", their collection options are those set forth in the Federal Debt Collection Act.  These are slow, cumbersome, inefficient and require lots of man hours and institutional attention; all in short supply.

 

The IRS has no budget for such penny ante nonsense.

 

When filling out Form 114 you will be prompted to explain your tardiness.

 

The Form conveniently has a drop-down menu of excuses.

 

Pick the one that applies.

 

File it.

 

Then go and sin no more.

 

@willowhands
 

Your experience differs from that of the OP in that you apparently had delinquent tax returns to file as well and used whatever benefits the so-called "streamlined procedure" offers to get right with all tax and info filings.

Welp, that was easier than I expected, one hour and filed for four years. Gotta stop getting shellshock whenever I hear about another IRS requirement.

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