If you are required to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, known as an FBAR, and also called FinCEN Form 114, you may think you have plenty of time to meet this year's deadline -- if you think the filing date is June 30.
FBAR filing date has changed
But the annual due date for FBAR filings was recently changed to the same date that individual income tax returns are due, normally April 15. (This year the due date was April 18 for FBARs and federal returns.) The previous FBAR due date of June 30 was confusing and hard to remember because it was different than other federal tax deadlines and if you missed it, there was no possibility of an extension, which leads to the next piece of good news.
In another new development, any taxpayer required to file an FBAR who misses the April 15 due date will be granted an automatic extension of six additional months to file it. Normally, the extended due date will be October 15, but this year, it will be October 16, 2017, because the fifteenth falls on a Sunday.
The extension will always be automatic. There is no need for the taxpayer to make a specific request for it to be granted, but nothing longer than six months may normally be granted.
File with FinCEN
As a reminder, FBARs are not filed with the IRS, but rather with the Federal Crimes Enforcement Network or FinCEN, part of the U.S. Treasury department. Failure to file can bring steep civil and even criminal penalties, in serious cases.
Basic FBAR requirements
FBARs must be filed to report certain foreign financial accounts. If a "U.S. person" has a financial interest in a foreign account or the right to access such an account with a signature and the aggregate value of such accounts is greater than $10,000 at any given time during the tax year, the legal duty to file an FBAR is triggered.