More Foreign Financial Account Reporting

International Tax Alert

As anticipated in our March 12, 2010 Tax Alert ("Looking for FBARs in All the Wrong Places?"), some pertinent legislative proposals were just enacted as part of the HIRE (Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment) Act, signed by President Obama on March 18th. The HIRE Act contains a new set of reporting rules, and related penalties, with respect to certain foreign financial assets. The rules go into effect in 2011.

The HIRE Act provision requires an individual "holding any interest" in a specified foreign financial asset to attach pertinent information to his or her tax return if the aggregate value of such assets exceeds $50,000. Specified foreign financial assets are:

    • Financial accounts maintained by a foreign financial institution 
    • The following assets not held in an account maintained by a financial institution:
      • Any stock or security issued by a foreign issuer
      • Any financial instrument or contract held for investment with a foreign issuer
        or counterparty
      • Any interest in a foreign entity

The new requirements are broader in some respects (e.g., types of assets) than the FBAR rules described in our recent Tax Alert, and narrower in others (e.g., dollar threshold, individuals only), and the reporting is on the individual tax return, not an FBAR form. The scope of the term "holding any interest" remains to be seen. Regulations may be issued to avoid duplicative disclosures.

The contours of these important new requirements will unfold in coming months. For the moment, we just wanted to alert you to their existence. The HIRE Act also contains other new provisions, e.g., regarding income tax withholding by financial intermediaries, designed to ferret out offshore non-compliance.

For more information please contact the following attorneys:
Scott D. Michel at 202-862-5030 or
Patricia Gimbel Lewis at 202-862-5017 or
Richard W. Skillman at 202-862-5034 or
James E. Salles at 202-862-5012 or

Caplin & Drysdale
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This alert is intended as a summary of legal issues for your general information. It does not provide legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with you or any other reader. If you require legal guidance in any specific situation, you should engage a qualified lawyer for that purpose. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


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