If you have an interest or signature authority
If you have an interest or signature authority over foreign financial accounts that have a total balance exceeding $10,000 at any point of the year, you are required to file the FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report – Form TD F 90-22.1). The FBAR is separate from your income tax filing, and the due date for filing (starting in 2017) is April 15. To complete the FBAR, it is advisable to maintain records of your monthly account balances. Otherwise, the paperwork may become a difficult exercise. Account balances need to be converted to U.S. dollars, using the F/X rate as of the last day of the year. Failure to report (non-willful) carries a penalty up to $10,000. Willful non-compliance potentially raises the penalty up to $100,000 or 50% of the taxpayer’s foreign assets (whichever is greater).
As of July 1, 2013, the FBAR has gone electronic, and is now called FinCEN 114. BTW, the acronym FinCen stands for Financial Crime Enforcement Network. The information required to be submitted remains the same.