Last week, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued final regulations regarding Form TD F 90-22.1, the Foreign Bank and Financial Account Report (FBAR). The FBAR generally requires each U.S. person (including tax-exempt organizations and their employees) with a financial interest in, or signature authority over, one or more financial accounts in a foreign country to report those accounts annually to the IRS if the aggregate value exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. FinCEN’s final regulations clarify when an individual has signature authority over a foreign financial account that would require the individual to file an FBAR. In order to have signature authority, the regulations indicate that an individual must have authority to control the disposition of money, funds or other assets held in the account by direct communication to the person with whom the financial account is maintained. In other words, the mere ability to participate in the asset allocation decision process or to instruct or supervise others with signature authority would not trigger an FBAR filing obligation. Individuals who have deferred filing FBARs for 2009 and prior years under previously issued guidance may apply this new definition to determine whether they are required to file FBARs for those years. Importantly, what remains missing from the final regulations is guidance on whether private investment funds organized outside the U.S., such as offshore private equity and hedge funds, constitute foreign financial accounts subject to FBAR reporting. A more complete summary of the final rules is here.