From my understanding, the US Treasury's Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) is supposed to be filed if a US person - natural or artificial - holds over $10,000 in a foreign bank account at any point of the year.

So, intentionally or not intentionally, a citizen wires $9000 to a foreign bank account, and buys things from that account in that foreign jurisdiction, wires another $9000 and buys more things in that foreign jurisdiction, although $18,000 of value is still stored, there is no trigger of the reporting requirement. Is this an unintended loophole or does this just not trigger reporting?

The reason I ask is because for another report, the CTR, currency transaction report, which is distinctly about cash deposites and withdrawals from the financial system (not electronic wires moving value already in the financial system), there is a law specifically about structuring smaller financial transactions to get around the reporting requirement, which carries criminal sanctions.

1 Answer 1


It is not a loophole. Things is not money. FBAR is only about bank accounts, so if you have $9000 on your bank account it is not the same as having $9000 worth of stuff hoarded in your apartment.

FBAR should be filed if at any day of the year the total of all the foreign bank account balances is over $10K. It has nothing to do with non-monetary possessions (there are other forms that might be required, but not FBAR).

By the way, it does not only include regular checking accounts. You should consider any financial institution account. Including, but not limited to:

Checking, savings, investments/brokerage, mutual holdings, cash-value insurance, private pensions, your aging parents' accounts that you have signature authority over, etc etc. Anything that you have your personal control over and is denominated in a currency.

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