The Bank Secrecy Act requires certain persons with a financial interest in or signature authority over certain foreign financial accounts with an aggregate value in excess of $10,000 to file an FBAR with the federal government. Beginning with the FBAR that is due in 2017 for the 2016 calendar year, the filing deadline for the FBAR has been changed to April 15th with a six-month extension until October 15th available upon request by the taxpayer.
Under the new FBAR filing rules, beginning with the FBAR that is due for the 2016 calendar year, the FBAR filing deadline for U.S. citizens and residents residing abroad will be automatically extended until June 15th, with an additional four-month extension available until October 15th. The new FBAR rules also give the federal government the authority to waive penalties for taxpayers who are first-time FBAR filers who failed to timely request an extension to file. To obtain the penalty relief, the taxpayers must file the FBAR by October 15th.
It is unclear how a taxpayer will request an extension to file an FBAR. The change in the FBAR deadline applies to the 2016 FBAR filing due date, which will now be April 15, 2017, but the due date for the 2015 FBAR remains June 30, 2016. The new provisions also do not change the fact that the FBAR must be filed electronically with FinCEN, separate and apart from the taxpayer’s income return.