I am a recent H1B visa worker in the US (from Europe). In April 2018 I will have to submit my first income tax return statement. Due to having lived all of my life in Europe, I had (and still have) a number of oversees investments prior to my coming to the US. These include: a mutual fund, bank accounts, shares in an investment holding company, and a small share in a non-listed software company. The balance of some of these exceeds certain thresholds and so I have to file both of the following:
- IRS Form 8938 - Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets
- FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)
My shares in the overseas software company are (and always have been) significantly less than 10% so I think I don't have to file Form 5471.
My question is:
Is filing these forms something that US tax payers normally do on their own or would such a course of action be ill-advised and I should hire a CPA instead ?
I am not sure what the fines are in case I make an earnest attempt to disclose and accurately report everything but I still make some mistakes due to my inexperience. As such, I find it hard to do a cost-benefit analysis for hiring a CPA. To preempt being accused of being a penny pincher, I note that the total amount of my offshore investments is obviously not in the millions or else I wouldn't be asking the question.