This is a detailed answer to your question, with a summary for you at the bottom. Please be patient with us as we explore the FBAR rules (or you can skip right to the end of this text if you are in a hurry).
There are actually two separate disclosure forms that can be required for those with "control" over a foreign bank account; each also has different reporting rules.
One disclosure document is known as IRS Form 8938, and can be attached to the relevant yearly personal Form 1040 tax return. The other is FinCen Form 114, which can only be filed via the internet. The following Internal Revenue Service webpage describes them in some detail, and provides their reporting requirements:
Please note that while Form 8938 is included in TurboTax, FinCen Form 114 is not included with TurboTax (as when it is required, it must be separately filed using a specific US Treasury Department webpage). Note that you can get to the right page by using a link embedded in the IRS comparison webpage (linked above).
Now then, in reference to your original question, we can look to the IRS summary section (on that comparison webpage) titled "When do you have an interest in an account or asset?"
From there we see that for Form 8938 purposes, this particular disclosure form is not required purely because you may have signatory authority over a company's foreign back account . . . unless you would otherwise have to report "any income, gains, losses, deductions, credits, gross proceeds, or distributions from holding or disposing of the account" on you personal tax return.
For most employees of mid-size to larger
businesses, then, this would mean that no, you don't need to file Form
8938 just because you have signatory authority over one or more foreign
accounts owned by your employer or a subsidiary entity.
On the other hand, the rules for FinCen Form 114 are different. Even though there is currently a proposal under consideration to exempt certain financial professionals from the existing rules (which you can read about in detail on the FinCen Form 114 webpage), it is currently a requirement that anyone (whether they "own" the foreign account outright or not) should file FinCen Form 114, as long as they have signature authority over the account, or have the power to "control the disposition of assets" from within the foreign account.
In conclusion, then, if you have the power to sign payments, or to move money (e.g. wire transfer), within a foreign company-owned bank account, then you don't need to file Form 8938 with your personal income tax return; but you should file FinCen Form 114 (at the Treasury Department website) just to protect yourself in the current tax year (even if the rules are changed in the reasonably near future).
One last point here is worth mentioning: although
there may be a requirement to disclose, there is never any actual tax
due with filing Form 8938 or FinCen Form 114.
Hi there, I plan to file FinCEN Form 114 separately, but I need to get the appropriate lines (7a and 7b of Schedule B) checked to indicate "Yes" in TurboTax. Do you have any idea how to do this?
I found the Foreign Accounts section in the Federal return, and I checked the box for "Owned or signed on a foreign bank,broker, or other financial account." But when I view the pdf return, I still see "No" checked in lines 7a and 7b of Schedule B.
Thanks for any help you can provide!
With your tax return open:
- Click on Wages & Income
- Scroll down to Interest an Dividends
- Click on Start or Update next to 1099-OID, Foreign Accounts
- Click on box that you owned or signed on a foreign bank
- Click on I had a financial account in another country and /or I had signature authority on a foreign bank account
- Click continue
- Enter Yes that your foreign accounts were greater than $10,000. click continue
- Enter the foreign country or countries where you have the accounts
- Click correct answer on next screen regarding foreign trusts, click continue
- Enter yes that you have foreign financial assets
- Enter answer Did you live in a foreign country
- Enter yes or no about the amount of your foreign financial assets
You will have "Yes" checked in lines 7a and 7b of Schedule B
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