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Jerusalem Life

| A small mistake can cost American citizens living in Israel millions of shekels

Zev Stub    
Sunday, 10 February 10:12 AM

A recent precedent-setting ruling in a U.S. Federal court reflects the enormous fines U.S. citizens are at risk of paying if they hold bank accounts overseas that are unreported, even by mistake. These fines can reach up to half of the amount in such accounts.

This ruling is relevant for American citizens and green card holders living in Israel, who are required to report bank accounts they have in Israel or in other countries.

In contrast to the system prevailing in Israel and most other countries, American citizens must report bank accounts held outside the United States, as well as any revenue accrued anywhere in the world, even if they are not U.S. residents. According to U.S. law, anyone holding more than $10,000 overseas must fill an annual Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR). The fine for non-disclosure is 50% of the highest balance in that account in the preceding year.

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