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us expat tax guide – france

When is an FBAR necessary for Americans living in France?

If you are an American residing in France with one or more bank accounts, an FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) must be filed if the total value of your foreign accounts exceeds US$10,000 at any point during the calendar year. This includes all accounts where you have an ownership or authority, regardless of whether they are solely or jointly held.

What details are required when filing an FBAR?

When filing an FBAR, you need to provide the bank’s name, account number, the highest balance during the year, and the address of the bank. Remember, this filing is purely informational and is separate from your income tax return, and any interest earned from these accounts must be reported as income on your tax return.

Do joint accounts with a non-US spouse also need to be reported?

Yes, joint accounts with anyone, including a non-US spouse, must be reported on your FBAR. You also need to include the name and address of the other account holders.

What if I transfer money between my accounts?

Even if you transfer money between your accounts, such as moving €5,000 from one account to another, both accounts must be reported if the aggregate balance reaches the US$10,000 threshold. This includes accounts that may temporarily hold a zero balance during the transfer.

Are online payment accounts like PayPal or Wise included in FBAR reporting?

Yes, online accounts such as PayPal or Wise that hold funds need to be reported on the FBAR if their combined balances with other financial accounts exceed the US$10,000 reporting threshold.

What about accounts with negative balances?

Accounts like credit cards or mortgage accounts, which typically represent debt rather than assets, do not need to be included in the FBAR reporting.

When are FBARs due, and what if I miss the deadline?

The FBAR is due on April 15, the same as the tax return deadline, with an automatic extension available until October 15. If you have not filed an FBAR and should have, you can catch up on past filings through the streamlined filing compliance procedures. This helps protect you from potential FBAR penalties by reporting up to six years of FBARs, assuming there was no willful evasion of reporting requirements.

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