The Internal Revenue Service reminds U.S. citizens, entities and resident aliens with a foreign bank or financial account that they have until Oct. 31, 2020, to file their 2019 Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

The IRS coordinated the extension from the usual Oct. 15 deadline with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for this year only to filers for 2019 calendar year FBARs. FBAR filers impacted by the California Wildfires, the Iowa Derecho, Hurricane Laura, the Oregon Wildfires and Hurricane Sally continue to have until Dec. 31, 2020, to file their FBARs.

This requirement applies to, among others, U.S. citizens and anyone with dual citizenship. It also applies to legal entities, such as corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, estates and trusts. In addition, U.S. citizens, entities and resident aliens should check to see if they have a U.S. tax liability and a federal tax return filing requirement. Those required to file should check to ensure all income is reported and federal tax return filing requirements are met regarding the reported accounts.

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In general, the filing requirement applies to anyone who had an interest in, or signature or other authority, over foreign financial accounts whose aggregate value exceeded $10,000 at any time during 2019. Because of this threshold, the IRS encourages U.S. persons or entities with foreign accounts, even relatively small ones, to check if this filing requirement applies to them. The FBAR, FinCEN Form 114, is only available through the BSA E-Filing System website.

Here are key points regarding the FBAR to keep in mind:


Those who must file an FBAR must keep records of accounts for generally five years from the FBAR due date, including:

  • Name on each account,
  • Account number or other designation,
  • Name and address of the foreign bank or other person who keeps the account,
  • Type of account, and
  • Greatest value of each account during the reporting period.

They should also keep copies of filed FBARs.

Officers or employees who file an FBAR to report signature authority over an employer’s foreign financial account don’t need to personally keep records on their employer’s accounts.

Deadline for reporting foreign accounts

By law, the deadline for filing the FBAR is the same as for a federal income tax return. This means that the FBAR, FinCEN Form 114, normally must be filed electronically with FinCEN by April 15. U.S. persons or entities who want to paper-file their FBAR must call FinCEN’s Regulatory Helpline to request an exemption from e-filing.

People and entities who miss the April 15 deadline have an automatic extension until Oct. 15 to file the FBAR. This extension is granted without any required action by the U.S. persons or entities. For 2019 only, that deadline is further extended to Oct. 31, 2020, for most filers, and to Dec. 31, 2020, for those impacted by the California Wildfires, the Iowa Derecho, Hurricane Laura, the Oregon Wildfires and Hurricane Sally.

Taxpayers should never file the FBAR with individual, business, trust or estate tax returns.

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