Comments Submitted on Foreign Asset Reporting Requirements

ACA has prepared a lengthy comment letter in response to the IRS call for comments on the draft versions of a new Form 8938 “Statement of Foreign Financial Assets.”

This form will have to be attached to your annual US tax return “if you owned specified foreign financial assets having an aggregate value of more than $50,000 in reporting period.” The form requires full details concerning any financial account maintained by a foreign financial institution, any stock or security issued by a non-US person, any financial instrument or contract held for investment that has an issuer or counterparty other than a US person, and/or any interest in a foreign entity.

The draft Form 8938 and related instructions are not published in the Federal Register, but must be requested from the IRS. Unfortunately, despite the 3 January 2011 deadline for comments, the draft instructions were not yet available as of mid-December 2010. In its reply to be submitted by year-end, ACA is protesting, arguing that the deadline for comments should be extended to 60 days from the date the relevant materials become available.

The IRS call for comments notice does specify that “Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will become a matter of public record.” ACA has chosen to respond as an organization on behalf of its members. This does not preclude interested members from filing their own views, as instructed in the call for comments above.

ACA’s Overseas Americans Week (OAW) partner organizations are also taking action: AARO (Association of Americans Resident Overseas) has sent out a call to its membership to submit individual comments, and FAWCO (Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas) has submitted a letter with comments. The ACA letter was finalized in collaboration with both AARO and FAWCO, and was signed jointly by all three groups.