Form 8938 is the Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets, which is another way of saying that if you have over $50,000 or so in any other country than the US but that you are a US citizen, you get to tell the IRS all about it on your income tax return. Even if it doesn’t produce income. Or tax.
It sounds a lot like the FBAR, but the 8938 is quite different. FBAR is for $10,000 accounts, this form is for the bigger ones. FBAR goes into FinCEN – the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the 8938 is for the IRS.
Which Assets Are Exempt from FATCA, FBAR and 8938 Reporting?
If you search long enough for ways to shield your assets from FBAR and 8938, you come across a few answers. First, personal property. Think of a mattress stuffed with gold – slightly uncomfortable, but probably only marginally less comfortable if you don’t like the idea of your nation of origin taxing you remotely.
Second, actual property – buying houses and such appears to be a workaround compared to having an ownership in a Real Estate Investment Trust.
I’m not advocating that you don’t report of pay taxes. These are obligations on US citizens. I’m just saying that you might be curious as to what to report and what not to. It is, after all, your duty to pay as little tax as legally possible.