See also June 2012 post on the FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report)
The recently introduced IRS Form 8938 needs to be filed by a US citizen with foreign financial assets of more than $50,000 on the last day of the year or of more than $75,000 at any point during the year.
The good news is something the US overseas investor may not know and that is that the IRS has no interest in foreign real estate holdings. Overseas properties often do not even have to be reported to the IRS. Unlike other worldwide income or assets, US owners of second homes for either personal use or investment purposes are not subject to US taxes on the property itself; in most cases they don’t even have to be declared to the authorities such as with the recently introduced IRS Form 8938.
Something else the US tax payer or investor may not know: It is legal and possible to move IRA funds offshore and use them to buy foreign real estate – in spite of what a tax or IRA adviser might say.