FBAR Due Date Moves Up to April 15th
On July 31st, President Obama signed the ‘Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015′ into law, which as unlikely as the name might otherwise imply, changed the due date of several key tax forms, including those for Americans with foreign income and Americans living abroad. One of those changes affected the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, (FinCEN 114), commonly known and referred to as the FBAR.
Beginning with the 2016 FBAR (due in 2017), the due date for FBAR reporting will change from June 30 to April 15 to coincide with the due date for filing an individual income tax return. Although the FBAR filing due date has been moved forward by two-and-a-half months, FBAR filers may request for the first time, an extension to October 15th (the same due date as their income tax return) to file the form. However, the law did not change the required electronic filing of the FBAR form, which is filed separately from the income tax return. Presumably, the IRS will create a form for U.S. filers to request filing for this extension.
For first-time FBAR filers, any penalty for failure to timely request for, or file, an extension, may be waived by the IRS. Some good news and possibly an indication of changes in the Treasury’s prior stance of zero tolerance on non or delinquent filing.
For Americans living abroad, this change will allow for the coordination of the FBAR due date to the June 15th deadline (after automatic extension) for the coordinating income tax return.
Any U.S. person with a financial interest in, or signatory authority over, foreign financial accounts must file the FBAR, if at any time, the aggregate value of their relevant foreign account or accounts exceeds $10,000. An account over which a person has signature authority but no ownership interest is included in this computation.
So, while the due date for the calendar year 2015 FBAR remains June 30, 2016, with no opportunity for extension, the due date for subsequent calendar years will be April 15, with a six-month extension available. There are several other options available to correct prior filing deficiencies.
These options are complex and vary from case-to-case and should be discussed with your Marcum tax professional.