FBAR Deadline Slightly Extended

After a misworded posting caused confusion about the 2020 deadline to file FBARs (i.e., FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)), Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has extended the deadline to Oct. 31.

Last Wednesday, FinCEN posted a notice to its website saying that this year’s deadline to e-file calendar year 2019 FBARs on the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) E-Filing System had been extended from Oct. 15, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020 (all FBARs must be e-filed). However, on Thursday that notice was no longer available on the FinCEN website and FinCEN had posted a notice clarifying that the extension is only available to victims of certain recent natural disasters (excluding coronavirus) (an extension that had been announced Oct. 6).

On Friday, FinCEN apologized for Wednesday’s mistaken posting and, because some filers may have missed the Oct. 15 deadline due to the notice, announced that it is extending the deadline for calendar year 2019 FBARs to Oct. 31, 2020. (Victims of natural disasters covered by the Oct. 6 notice continue to have a Dec. 31 deadline.)

FBARs have been required since 1970, though many people with foreign accounts do not know about the filing requirement FBARs are important, and penalties can be punitive if unfiled. All U.S. persons who possess an ownership interest, or signatory or other authority, over one or more foreign accounts with an aggregate balance exceeding $10,000 in a given year are required by law to file an FBAR.

Failure to timely file an FBAR can result in civil penalties and, in willful cases, criminal prosecution. So be sure to file your FBAR before October 31, 2020, the new extended deadline.