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March 25, 2018

Expats and US Citizens Must Report on Special Forms Foreign Assets

As a US citizen (whether living abroad or not) must report foreign assets if the value exceeds certain amounts on their US Income tax return. And hopefully you know dual citizenship does not excuse you from this filing (which can  be eliminated is you surrender your US citizenship which also involves complex procedures).

The following list includes some of the more common foreign assets that may have to be reported (and if you do not file the required form you will pay huge penalties)

  • foreign bank accounts
  • foreign mutual funds
  • foreign corporation ownership
  • foreign stock brokerage accounts
  • foreign loans
  • foreign partnerships
  • foreign trusts
  • foreign pension plans
  • foreign insurance with cash surrender value
If you own foreign real estate and it is not rented out  and title is in your own personal name it is not reportable on your personal tax return.  This may explain why so much money is laundered through  the purchase of expensive foreign real estate that sits empty much of the time.

Only some of the forms that may need to be included in your personal tax return include 5471, 8865, 8938, 114, 3520, 3520A, etc. Look them up at and you are likely to decide your need professional expert help.  Write us at with questions, and to request assistance or a personal consultation.  Don is a US licensed attorney and therefore under the attorney client privilege doctrine talking with him provides complete personal privacy.

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