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Amended Reporting Requirements for U.S. Taxpayers With Interest Over Foreign Financial Accounts

For all our clients who are subject to reporting of foreign bank accounts, there has been a recent change in deadlines associated with reporting requirements. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has announced that the recently passed Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act changed the annual due date for filing Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) for foreign financial accounts to April 15.  It seems that this change was made in order to bring the FBAR due date in alignment with the April 15 Federal income tax filing season. Notably, the Act also mandates a maximum six-month extension of the filing deadline. This means that to implement the statute with minimal burden to the public, FinCEN will grant filers failing to meet the FBAR annual due date of April 15 an automatic extension to October 15 each year. No specific requests for this extension are required. Since the federal income tax filing date for tax year 2016, will be on April 18, 2017, the FBAR deadline will be on the same day.

As a reminder, all U.S. taxpayers with an interest in or signature authority over foreign financial accounts, with a total aggregate value that exceeds $10,000 at any time during 2016, must electronically file the FBAR form.  Please note that if you have, or believe you have an FBAR filing requirement, this deadline should be taken very seriously.  Failure to file on time can result in severe fines and even criminal charges. According to the IRS, “those who fail to properly file a complete and correct FBAR may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per violation for non-willful violations that are not due to reasonable cause. For willful violations, the penalty may be the greater of $100,000 or 50 percent of the balance in the account at the time of the violation.”