Foreign Assets; What Must I Disclose?

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Beginning with income tax returns for 2011, U.S. individual taxpayers must attach a statement (Form 8938) to their return if they hold an interest in “specified foreign financial interests” and the value of those interests exceed certain thresholds. Example for an individual the threshold is $50,000 at year end or $75,000 at anytime during the year.

For certain assets this will not be a difficult test to satisfy. If assets consist entirely of funds in a foreign financial institution and they exceed the threshold the test is satisfied. But the test may not be quite so simple for individuals that hold interests in closely held businesses or have interests in foreign trust or estates. The difficulty may come in estimating the value of those interests.

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