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IRS Warning: FBAR Deadline For Offshore Accounts Is Still April 15

This year’s tax filing deadline hasn’t exactly been smooth. It seemed that the April 15 deadline would stick, but then the IRS extended it to May 17. But that didn’t cover everything, notable the April 15 estimated tax payment deadline! What’s more, don’t forget about FBARs either, as that deadline was not extended. The IRS is reminding U.S. citizens, resident aliens and any domestic legal entity that the deadline to file their annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) is still April 15, 2021. The extension of the federal income tax filing due date and other tax deadlines for individuals to May 17, 2021, does not affect the FBAR requirement. 

Office called FBARs—but not FinCEN Form 114, these important forms are required under the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires U.S. persons to file a FBAR if they have:

  1. Financial interest in, signature authority or other authority over one or more accounts, such as a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund or other financial account in a foreign country, and
  2. The aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

Because of this threshold, the IRS encourages U.S. persons or entities with foreign accounts, even relatively small ones, to check if this filing requirement applies to them. A U.S. person is a citizen or resident of the United States or any domestic legal entity such as a partnership, corporation, limited liability company, estate or trust.

You can’t file on paper either. The 2021 FBAR must be filed electronically with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and is only available through the BSA E-Filing System website. Taxpayers who are unable to e-file their FBAR must call FinCEN at 800-949-2732, from outside the U.S. 703-905-3975.

Penalties can be severe. Those who don’t file an FBAR when required may be subject to significant civil and criminal penalties that can result in a fine and/or prison. The IRS will not penalize those who properly reported a foreign account on a late-filed FBAR if the IRS determines there was reasonable cause for late filing. For more information check out: Fact Sheet 2021-07 or the IRS FBAR Reference Guide. The IRS also has FAQs About International Individual Tax Matters. Finally, see FinCEN’s website Reporting Maximum Account Value.

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