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.
Not everyone is intentionally doing something wrong when it comes to filing taxes. In some cases, it is simply a lack of understanding of U.S. rules and regulations. If an immigrant has been in the U.S. for 180 days, they are required to report to U.S. authorities that they have a foreign account and become subject to U.S. taxation.