On October 14, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) caused a lot of confusion for taxpayers and their advisors concerning the filing due date for foreign (non-US) financial accounts. An incorrect posting was issued by FinCEN about the 2020 deadline to file Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, commonly known as the “FBAR”. The confusion generated by the posting was so significant that it led FinCEN to apologize and now extend the FBAR filing deadline to October 31.
Here’s how it unfolded: On Wednesday, October 14 (the day before what everyone believed was the FBAR due date) FinCEN posted a notice to its website that incorrectly stated there was a new filing extension from October 15 until December 31, 2020 for all filers to e-file calendar year 2019 FBARs on the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) E-Filing System. The following day, however, that notice was no longer on the FinCEN website and FinCEN posted a clarification stating that the December 31 extension was only available to victims of recent natural disasters . This extension was not ‘news’ as it had already been announced by FinCEN on October 6th.
On Friday, October 16, FinCEN apologized for its erroneous website posting and, because some filers may have missed the October 15 deadline due to the notice, announced that in coordination with the Internal Revenue Service, it is extending the deadline for calendar year 2019 FBARs to October 31, 2020. Victims of natural disasters covered by the October 6 notice continue to have until December 31 to file the FBAR.
So, if you missed the October 15 deadline, you have a lucky break! Just make sure you don’t miss the October 31 due date. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
For those wishing to learn more about the notorious FBAR, my US tax primer has an entire section devoted to this topic. HAPPY READING!
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