All U.S. citizens and permanent residents are required to annually file a U.S. income tax return reporting their worldwide income from all sources. Additionally, U.S. citizens and permanent who have an interest in or signatory authority over foreign bank and financial accounts holding $10,000 or more at any time during the year must independently identify and report these interests to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”). This annual disclosure must be filed electronically using Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”). For years prior to 2016, the FBAR was to be filed with FinCEN by June 30th following each year. The FBAR filing requirement is in addition to other foreign bank and financial account disclosures that must now be made on a taxpayer’s annual income U.S. income tax return (e.g. Form 1040, Schedule B; and Form 8938 -“FATCA” disclosure).
Under a new law adopted by Congress in 2015 (Section 2006(b)(11) of The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015, Public Law 114-41 – the “Act”), beginning for the 2016 year, each annual FBAR must be filed with FInCen by April 15th. This change to an April 15th FBAR filing date was designed to match the FBAR filing date with the date individual Federal income tax returns are due.
In addition to establishing a new April 15th filing date for the FBAR, the Act authorizes a six-month extension of this filing deadline. FinCEN recently announced, however, that it will grant FBAR filers an automatic extension to file their annual FBAR to October 15th of each year. No specific request for this extension is required. Thus, under this FinCEN announcement implementing the new FBAR filing deadline under the Act, U.S. Citizens and permanent residents with foreign bank and financial accounts now have until October 15th each year to file their FBARs with FInCEN.