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FBARs due Apr. 17, 2018, but filers who miss deadline get automatic 6-month extension

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the Treasury Department, has posted a clarification to its website regarding the due date of 2017 Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs). While 2017 FBARs are due on Apr. 17, filers who miss this deadline are given an automatic extension until Oct. 15, 2018.

Background. U.S. citizens and resident aliens are legally required to report any worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts. In most cases, affected taxpayers (i.e., U.S. citizens and resident aliens with worldwide income subject to the reporting rules) will need to fill out and attach Form 1040, Schedule B, Interest and Ordinary Dividends, to their tax return. Part III of Schedule B asks about the existence of foreign accounts, such as bank and securities accounts, and usually requires U.S. citizens to report the country in which each account is located.

Certain taxpayers may also have to fill out and attach to their return Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets. Generally, U.S. citizens, resident aliens and certain nonresident aliens must report specified foreign financial assets on Form 8938 if the aggregate value of those assets exceeds $50,000 on the last day of the tax year, or $75,000 at any time during the tax year.

Separately, certain taxpayers with foreign accounts during 2015 must file a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Form 114 (FBAR) with FinCEN, a bureau of the Treasury Department. It is not a tax form and cannot be filed with IRS. The form must be filed electronically and is only available online through the BSA (Bank Security Act) E-Filing System website. In general, the filing requirement applies to anyone who had an interest in, or signature or other authority over, foreign financial accounts the aggregate value of which exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

FBAR filing deadline. As part of the Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-41), the FBAR due date was changed to April 15 to coincide with the Federal income tax filing season, with an allowable filing extension of up to six months.

FinCEN recently issued a clarification providing that the 6-month filing extension is automatic—i.e., that specific requests for it are not required—and that this automatic extension will be granted each year to filers failing to meet the regular deadline.

Therefore, for FBARs for the 2017 calendar year, the regular due date is Apr. 17, 2018, and the extended due date is Oct. 15, 2018.

References: For reporting requirement for individuals with foreign assets, see FTC 2d/FIN ¶  S-3650; United States Tax Reporter ¶  60,114. FBAR Due Date Clarification.

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