Previously discussed the FBAR report and additional background on how easy it is for an NPO with overseas activity to generate a requirement to file the report. Will get back to the extended deadline, but need to look at the downside of not filing.
This is where things get ugly. The FBAR report says the penalty for a person who fails to properly file is a civil penalty up to $10,000. This applies to organizations also. If there is reasonable cause, then no penalty will be imposed.
It gets worse.
Willful failure to report an account could generate a penalty up to $100,000 or 50% of the balance of the account. Willful violations could also generate criminal penalties.
You’re going to have to talk to an attorney to get an explanation of reasonable in front of the word cause and willful in front of the word violation. Those are phrases that keep attorneys rich and courts clogged.
I think developing a sophisticated scheme to hide tons of money in a numbered Swiss bank account to avoid paying US taxes would likely result in the IRS thinking that the willful failure phrase would be fitting, which would result in those really nasty penalties. But that is just my guess.
The point? Not filing FBARs for your field operations could possibly generate some penalties. Even for a nonprofit, without that willful label, the penalties can get serious.
The Journal of Accountancy article is IRS further extends deadline for certain 2009 and earlier FBARs
Previous posts at: