Can I prepare my FBAR and Form 8938 myself?

Yes, you can prepare and file these forms yourself. However, we do not recommend it for the following reasons:

  1. Accuracy. The forms, while not conceptually difficult, have to be completed 100% correctly to avoid scrutiny and potential refusal by the IRS. It's like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without a manual.
  2. The time required. You will have to set up an account on the Treasury online system to file an FBAR and you’ll need to complete a paper copy of Form 8938. Both tasks generally take between 3 and 4 hours.
  3. The return may have to be mailed. If you prepare Form 8938 yourself, your return cannot be e-filed and will have to be mailed to the IRS.
  4. IRS regulations on financial accounting reporting are subject to constant changes which most taxpayers may not be aware of. We stay on top of these developments all year long, while you would have to take the time to get up to date.

To get an idea of exactly what we mean, here are the instructions for preparing an FBAR (22 pages) and for preparing Form 8938 (14 pages):

The decision to have us prepare the forms professionally or do it yourself is obviously personal. However, because of the amount of time required to do it thoroughly and the risk of doing it incorrectly, our recommendation is that you let us handle this task.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us