U.S. Supreme Court rules the $10,000 FBAR penalty should only be based on the taxpayer's account.
The Supreme Court recently ruled, in Bittner v. the U.S.,469 F.Supp.3d 709 (2020), that the $10,000 penalty for failure to file the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”), FinCen Form 114, applies only to the taxpayers’ account and not to each bank account that the taxpayers neglected to report. In Bittner’s case, the penalty was reduced from over $2.7 million to only $50,000.
If you have money or investments held outside the U.S., you might be required to file an FBAR with the IRS. If you do not, the $10,000 penalty might be the least of your problems. The IRS seriously looks at FBAR non-filers. You might end up owing one-half of the largest amount held at any time outside the U.S. (even if you no longer have the money or investment during the audit). You can also be charged with a crime, so report your money and investments held outside the U.S. to the IRS.