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If you know what an FBAR is, I’m sorry.
You're a member of a club with over 1.4 million members who didn't want to join.
The FBAR Club
FBAR Club membership is restricted: you must be an American citizen who has one or more non-US financial accounts. Americans living abroad have a big advantage here.
The FBAR Club is open to Americans regardless of where in the world they live.
Members are asked to find the max balances in all their non-US accounts during the past calendar year and to sum them. If that sum is $10,000 or more, they receive an “invitation” to join the club.
Then there’s a club admissions ritual, which consists of filing a Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR), which asks for important details about those non-US accounts. The ritual can be quite grueling if many accounts are involved.
Online filing of an annual multipart form is how you pay your dues in the FBAR club. Don’t expect a note of thanks if you join.
At last known count there were about 1.4 million of club members.
Many others considered the FBAR club but didn’t join. They had too little in their bank accounts or they chose not to comply.
Are you a club member? Read on.
About a FBAR time-saving tool
If you only have one or two bank accounts, FBARs aren’t too tedious. However, if you also have different types of accounts or joint account owners, they become much more complicated and time consuming.
There’s a tool that will save you hours, minimize stress, and satisfy government record keeping requirements.
Many types of foreign accounts are reportable, not just bank accounts. For example, do you have a non-US PayPal account? A life insurance policy with cash value? A gold bullion account? Signing authority for an organization? A credit balance with your bookie?
Any non-US account that smells like money is probably reportable on the FBAR.
FBARs demand much more information than a single number, information that takes time to find, organize, and enter into the FBAR submission form.
How the tool works
The tool organizes all your relevant FBAR information in a spreadsheet that can be easily reused, with minor modifications, from year to year. That saves a lot of your time.
Moreover, your stored information is organized to parallel the data entry requirements of the FBAR form itself, which makes form completion easier and faster.
You’ll still have to dig through your account records to get all the information you need – but only the first time you use the tool. Subsequent years will go much faster because you’ll reuse almost all of your work from the previous year.
When you’re collecting information
The tool will help you with:
details on types of reportable financial accounts;
information about what’s needed for each account type;
directions on how to calculate maximum yearly accounts balances;
automatic calculation of exchange rates; and
a customized easy-to-use spreadsheet for entering FBAR information
in a format that facilitates FBAR completion.
When using the online portal
You’ll be shown how to speed from completion by using a simple series of hotkey commands. Specifically you’ll be shown how to:
open the submission form in one window and your spreadsheet in another;
copy a cell in the spreadsheet, toggle to the form;
paste the info into the appropriate form location;
toggle back to the spreadsheet; and
repeat until the FBAR is complete.
Prepare for next year
After completing your current FBAR, you’ll be shown how to:
prepare a spreadsheet page for next year;
to reuse information you’ve collected this year;
Many, if not most, of one’s financial accounts persist over years. The tool allows you to easily reuse such unchanging information.
Typically institution names, addresses, and account identifiers don’t change from year to year. After the first year you’ll only need to determine account maxima for later years.
You also won’t have to calculate currency conversions. The tool will do that for you.
Is your time worth something?
Mine is, and I’m sure yours is too.
The tool is easy to use – even if you’ve never used a spreadsheet before. This is a no brainer.
Learn more about the FBAR GUIDE here.
If you haven't done your 2022 FBAR the Guide is just what you need now.