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FBAR: Safe to state several accounts balance as unknown?

FBAR: Safe to state several accounts balance as unknown?

Old Feb 20th 2018, 5:28 pm
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Default FBAR: Safe to state several accounts balance as unknown?

Hi!

Like many of you, I'm enjoying that time of the year prep'ing the tax return and other fiscal obligations (with the help of the accountant provided by my wife's employer).
One of those is FBAR, where one had to list all of his foreign financial assets/accounts.

For bank accounts it's rather easy to find balances on 12/31 and the max balance over 2017. However, there are several retirement/RSUs accounts that were opened without really paying attention, and for which we don;t have an idea of what those balances are/were.

The FBAR form allows to check a box saying that you don't have that info, how "safe" is it to use it for several accounts? Or is it best to try to guess an approximate of what balances *should* be?

It's really a painful one, as we have to dig and discover the ridiculously high (relatively speaking) amount of accounts that are opened over a few years of work...

Thanks for your advice!
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Old Feb 20th 2018, 7:33 pm
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Default Re: FBAR: Safe to state several accounts balance as unknown?

But defined benefit pensions are not reportable on FBAR. But I can't think what other accounts finding the balance of isn't possible.

Last edited by lansbury; Feb 20th 2018 at 7:35 pm.
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Old Feb 20th 2018, 7:45 pm
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Default Re: FBAR: Safe to state several accounts balance as unknown?

Originally Posted by Krysalgir View Post
Hi!

Like many of you, I'm enjoying that time of the year prep'ing the tax return and other fiscal obligations (with the help of the accountant provided by my wife's employer).
One of those is FBAR, where one had to list all of his foreign financial assets/accounts.

For bank accounts it's rather easy to find balances on 12/31 and the max balance over 2017. However, there are several retirement/RSUs accounts that were opened without really paying attention, and for which we don;t have an idea of what those balances are/were.

The FBAR form allows to check a box saying that you don't have that info, how "safe" is it to use it for several accounts? Or is it best to try to guess an approximate of what balances *should* be?

It's really a painful one, as we have to dig and discover the ridiculously high (relatively speaking) amount of accounts that are opened over a few years of work...

Thanks for your advice!
Surely the accountant would be in the best position to advise. I do not understand a pension where you have no statements or any idea of the value. Do you not get statements or have on-line access?
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Old Feb 23rd 2018, 10:21 pm
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Default Re: FBAR: Safe to state several accounts balance as unknown?

It is "safe" to do this provided that you genuinely do not know, or do not have any way of getting a concrete figure.

The purpose of FBAR is to fight money-launderers and financial criminals. It's not to play gotcha with someone who listed an account with $51,000 in it as $50,000 or $52,000.
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Old Feb 24th 2018, 2:12 am
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Default Re: FBAR: Safe to state several accounts balance as unknown?

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
.... The purpose of FBAR is to fight money-launderers and financial criminals. It's not to play gotcha with someone who listed an account with $51,000 in it as $50,000 or $52,000.
This! The IRS has bigger fish to fry than Joe Ordinary with his pension savings.
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Old Feb 24th 2018, 6:53 am
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Default Re: FBAR: Safe to state several accounts balance as unknown?

You also have until 15 October to get a good figure; so there is time to find out...
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Old Feb 25th 2018, 1:37 am
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Default Re: FBAR: Safe to state several accounts balance as unknown?

Is there any danger in over estimating?

Whatever figure you think you have, add +10% to the figure to be safe?
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Old Feb 25th 2018, 7:32 am
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Default Re: FBAR: Safe to state several accounts balance as unknown?

Originally Posted by jammiie View Post
Is there any danger in over estimating?

Whatever figure you think you have, add +10% to the figure to be safe?
I wouldn’t think there is any harm over estimating as this is purely a report you have to do.
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