Under the Bank Secrecy Act, U.S. residents or a person in and doing business in the United States must file a report with the U.S. Treasury if he or she has a financial account in a foreign country with a value exceeding $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. Taxpayers comply with this law by noting the account on their tax return and by filing Form 90-22.1, the Foreign Bank and Financial Account Report (FBAR). Willfully failing to file an FBAR report can be punished under both civil and criminal law.
Taxpayers with offshore bank accounts might be in trouble. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) went into effect on July 1 requires that foreign banks report to the IRS about the accounts of U.S. taxpayers. As a result, more than 100 Swiss banks are handing over information on potential U.S. tax evaders.