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FBAR mistake - correct it or no?

FBAR mistake - correct it or no?

Old Apr 4th 2012, 10:21 am
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Default FBAR mistake - correct it or no?

I recently discovered that an account my UK bank encouraged me to open was opened in my name only. I never realized this before, especially since they offered it as an alternative to an account that was in both my husband's name and mine, I just assumed the new account would be in both our names also. We've had this account a few years and I only just realized the error.

The problem that creates is that the past FBARs we filed list all our accounts as joint accounts. I only realized last year that we had to file FBARs at all, so several of them were past-due forms.

Now I have to decide:

A) For the 2011 FBAR, do I correct the problem and list one account as mine alone and the others as joint accounts, or will this just call attention to the fact that the forms in past years had an error where it listed that one account as a joint account when it wasn't?

B) Do I file corrections for the past forms, too? I don't want to draw more attention to myself and the fact that I filed late fbars. It seems a very small error as they do have the account information, they just have an additional person listed on one of the accounts who shouldn't be there.

I'm not sure what to do, the fact that I filed the FBARs late really scared me, and I really want to just quietly stay under the radar. We have filed US taxes the whole time we've been here, and have paid in to the IRS those times we owed money. What to do?

(If it helps with an answer, we are Americans currently living in the UK.)

Last edited by Dazey; Apr 4th 2012 at 10:22 am. Reason: update
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 8:52 pm
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Default Re: FBAR mistake - correct it or no?

A) File the 2011 FBAR correctly (one account as yours alone and the others as joint accounts, if that's still the case). FATCA is coming to your bank soon and the UK has indicated it is willing to explore accepting US reporting and damn privacy legislation.
B) An amended FBAR can be filed for previous years. (See the top righthand box on the first page of the form.)

I can not/will not give any comment as to how to proceed. I will add this comment as only my own opinion. Assuming the previous FBARs listed the account details, account number, your name is associated with the account on the FBAR, and gave the maximum balance in the account for the year, in my opinion it would be less serious to have filed the account as a joint account. If in fact it was a joint account, and was filed as a sole account, the situation would be, in my very non-professional, amateur opinion, more serious.
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