Green Card Holder & Foreign Accounts

Green Card Holder & Foreign Accounts

Green Card Holder & Foreign Accounts

Green Card Holder & Foreign Accounts: The IRS treats a Green Card Holder (aka Legal Permanent Resident) the same as a U.S. Citizen for tax purposes. Instead of U.S. Citizen, a Green Card Holder is a referred to as a U.S. Person, and they (generally) have the same tax and reporting requirements as a U.S. Citizen. While it may not seem like a big deal to be out of compliance (and sometimes it isn’t), many times it can put the taxpayer at risk for offshore penalties. Depending on the nature of the non-compliance, number of accounts or assets, and the value — it may put the Taxpayer at great risk. Luckily, there are various offshore tax amnesty options available to safely get into compliance. We will summarize the rules involving Green Card Holders and Foreign Account compliance.

Offshore Reporting for Green Card Holders

When a person has foreign accounts and they are a green card holder, they must report their Foreign/Offshore Accounts on a U.S. Tax Return and/or FBAR return just as if they were U.S. citizen.

Oftentimes, Green Card Holders incorrectly believe that they are exempt from these reporting requirements.

Common issues we encounter are as follows:

  1. I opened the account before I moved to the United States;
  2. The account was opened with foreign money;
  3. I have not accessed the money since moving to the United States; and
  4. I have not deposited or withdrawn any money from the Account

While these facts will help determine if a person was willful or non-willful in their failure to comply — it does not impact their reporting requirements.


FBAR is the Foreign Bank and Financial Account Form. The FBAR form must be filed electronically.

FBAR or FinCEN Form 114 is used to report foreign bank and financial accounts.

FBAR is not limited to individuals.  Rather, Entities, Trusts and Estates may also have an FBAR filing requirement.

The threshold for filing is when the filer has an “annual aggregate total” of more than $10,000 on any day of the year.

In addition, the FBAR requires more than just bank accounts. FBAR also includes:

  • Investment Accounts
  • Mutual Funds
  • Stock Accounts
  • Life Insurance
FBAR 2020

FBAR 2020

When is the FBAR Due?

The FBAR 2019 form is due in April 2020, but is on automatic extension.

Therefore, you have until October 15, 2020 to file your 2019 FBAR, and you do not have to file an extension form.

In general, FBAR reporting is a key enforcement priority for the IRS and the FBAR reporting requirements can be complicated.

The failure to file the FBAR can lead to excessive fines and penalties, but there are various amnesty programs to help you avoid these penalties.

Is the FBAR Hard to File?

FBAR Filing can be complicated, depending on the specific FBAR Filing requirements of the filer.

For example, if a person has one savings account in Taiwan, the reporting is not that bad.

But, if a person has 50 accounts, life insurance, mutual funds, and foreign life insurance — the FBAR filing may be much more complicated.

2020 Deadline For Filing

The FBAR filing deadline is relatively forgiving.

Unless the IRS and FinCEN change the current FBAR filing deadline rules, then the FBAR is due when your tax returns are due (April or June). But, the FBAR is on automatic extension through October.


The FBAR Instructions as provided by the IRS and FinCEN can be dense. Therefore, Golding & Golding have prepared our own FBAR instructions for your reference.

FBAR Violation Penalty

FBAR penalties: The failure to file the FBAR (or filing the FBAR late) may result in FBAR penalties. FBAR penalties can be broken down into different categories:

  • Willful FBAR Penalties
  • Non-Willful FBAR Penalties
  • Civil FBAR Penalties
  • Criminal FBAR Penalties

Golding & Golding: About Our International Tax Law Firm

Golding & Golding specializes exclusively in international tax, and specifically IRS offshore disclosure

We are the “go-to” firm for other Attorneys, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, Accountants, and Financial Professionals across the globe. Our attorneys have worked with thousands of clients on offshore disclosure matters, including FATCA & FBAR.

Each case is led by a Board-Certified Tax Law Specialist with 20 years of experience, and the entire matter (tax and legal) is handled by our team, in-house.

*Please beware of copycat tax and law firms misleading the public about their credentials and experience.

Less than 1% of Tax Attorneys Nationwide Are Certified Specialists

Sean M. Golding is one of less than 350 Attorneys (out of more than 200,000 practicing California Attorneys) to earn the Certified Tax Law Specialist credential. The credential is awarded to less than 1% of Attorneys.

Recent Golding & Golding Case Highlights

  • We represented a client in an 8-figure disclosure that spanned 7 countries.
  • We represented a high-net-worth client to facilitate a complex expatriation with offshore disclosure.
  • We represented an overseas family with bringing multiple businesses & personal investments into U.S. tax and offshore compliance.
  • We took over a case from a small firm that unsuccessfully submitted multiple clients to IRS Offshore Disclosure.
  • We successfully completed several recent disclosures for clients with assets ranging from $50,000 – $7,000,000+.

How to Hire Experienced Offshore Counsel

Generally, experienced attorneys in this field will have the following credentials/experience:

  • 20-years experience as a practicing attorney
  • Extensive litigation, high-stakes audit and trial experience
  • Board Certified Tax Law Specialist credential
  • Master’s of Tax Law (LL.M.)
  • Dually Licensed as an EA (Enrolled Agent) or CPA

Interested in Learning More about Golding & Golding?

No matter where in the world you reside, our international tax team can get you IRS offshore compliant. 

Golding & Golding specializes in FBAR and FATCA. Contact our firm today for assistance with getting compliant.