Starting in 2017, automatic extension will be available for FBAR

Technically, it isn't even called the FBAR anymore. The form for filing a report of foreign bank accounts that meet certain dollar thresholds is now called FinCEN 114, though the term FBAR is still commonly used.

The name change for the form is only one of many changes relating offshore account compliance that has changed significantly in recent years. Another is the annual due date for filing the form.

In this post, we will inform you about that change.

Historically, the filing deadline for reports of offshore accounts was June 30. Coming more than two months after the mid-April deadline for individual income tax returns, this meant that taxpayers with foreign accounts had two different filing deadlines to keep track of.

In 2015, Congress changed the due date for the FBAR to coincide with the individual filing deadline. Beginning in 2017 the FBAR (FinCEN 114) will be due on the same mid-April date as tax returns. In 2017, this will be April 18.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) made an announcement last week that taxpayers can also get an automatic six-month extension, extending the filing date for the FBAR to October 15.

Taxpayers do not have to make a specific request to get this extension. It is a permanent automatic extension, available if necessary every year.

Of course, there are still many potential questions you could have regarding FBAR compliance. For example, what if you don't have a financial interest in an offshore account but have signatory authority over one?

Another common question is how the FBAR relates to Form 8938, the Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets, which is part of income tax filing.

Many other questions can arise as well in a complicated offshore compliance climate. But now at least there will no longer be two separate filing dates (one for FBAR and one for income tax) to keep track of for FBAR filers. And FBAR filers will also be able to get an automatic six-month extension.

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