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  • Writer's pictureLewis Grunfeld, CPA

A Guide to Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

For U.S. citizens holding foreign financial interests, submitting the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) is crucial for compliance with international financial regulations. However, late FBAR filing or failure to file can lead to complications. This guide simplifies the process of rectifying delinquent FBARs, ensuring adherence to legal standards while demystifying associated complexities.

Understanding the Importance of FBAR Compliance

The FBAR, or FinCEN Form 114, mandates U.S. taxpayers to disclose their foreign financial accounts to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) if the aggregate value of those accounts exceeds $10,000 at any point during the calendar year. This disclosure includes any financial interests or authority over foreign financial accounts even if there is no ownership stake in the account. Non-compliance, whether through failure to report or inaccurate reporting, can trigger severe penalties.

Penalties Associated with FBAR Non-Compliance

FBAR non-compliance penalties are severe, differing based on the violation's nature. Non-willful breaches may result in up to $10,000 in fines per incident. In contrast, willful violations are more serious, with penalties reaching $100,000 or 50% of the unreported account's balance, often leading to larger total fines. Extreme cases could even face criminal charges and imprisonment.

FBAR Penalties Table

Violation Type



Non-Willful Violation

Failure to file an FBAR or maintain proper records of the account while not intending to conceal assets or evade taxes.

Up to $10,000 for each non-willful violation.

Willful Violation

Knowingly failing to file an FBAR, providing false information, or otherwise seeking to evade reporting requirements.

The greater of $100,000 or 50% of the balance in the unreported foreign account at the time of the violation.

Pattern of Negligent Activity

Multiple instances of negligence that indicate a conscious disregard or voluntary neglect of responsibilities.

Additional penalties may apply, potentially exceeding the account balances.

Criminal Penalties

Cases involving fraudulent activity, active evasion of reporting, or other criminal activities.

Fines up to $250,000 and/or 5 years of imprisonment for individuals; fines up to $500,000 and/or 10 years of imprisonment for corporations.

How To File FBARs for Previous Years

The Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures offers taxpayers a potential penalty-free resolution if they missed filing their FBARs due to a reasonable cause. To take advantage of this, individuals must file missing FBARs for the past six years. Along with these submissions, they should provide a detailed statement explaining the reason for the delay, ensuring it demonstrates a genuine reasonable cause. It's also essential to cross-check and, if necessary, amend related tax returns to report any previously unreported income from foreign accounts.

Need Help Navigating the Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures?

Dealing with delinquent FBARs, doesn't have to be a daunting task. At CPAs for Expats, we combine deep expertise with affordability, standing out as the lowest cost service for U.S. expatriates. Our 4.9/5 rating on independent review platforms attests to our commitment to excellence and client satisfaction. Contact us today, and let our experts simplify your tax management process, providing peace of mind and significant savings!


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