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FinCEN 114 Deadline (FBAR 2018 Due Date is on Automatic Extension)

Offshore Disclosure Attorney – International Tax Lawyer, Sean M. Golding (Board Certified Tax Law Specialist) FinCEN 114 Deadline (FBAR 2018 Due Date is on Automatic Extension) – Golding & Golding

FinCEN 114 Deadline (FBAR 2018 Due Date is on Automatic Extension)

FinCEN 114 is known as  the FBAR. The FBAR is the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Account Form.

The FinCEN 114 deadline used to be June 30th, but recently was changed to April…and it is on automatic extension through October 2018.

Therefore, The FBAR 2018 Due date (which is filed in 2019) is October 15, 2019 to file your 2018 FBAR (exceptions/restrictions may apply)

Common FBAR Questions:

  • What is an FBAR
  • When do I file an FBAR
  • What is FBAR Filing
  • What if I file the FBAR late?
  • Can I amend an FBAR?
  • What are FBAR Penalties?
  • How can I avoid FBAR Penalties?

FinCEN 114 Update

Recently, we had a client contact us in hysterics. She was freaking out, because she just finished an initial consultation with one of the self-proclaimed “Experts” in Offshore Disclosure and a Former IRS Attorney...

He told her she needed to pay him money ASAP in order to file the FBAR by April 15, 2018. This was despite the fact that she already applied for an extension to file her tax returns.

The fees were exorbitant, because of course, time is of the essence…or maybe it’s not.

FBAR is on Automatic Extension

We guess even Offshore Disclosure Leaders are not keeping up with current tax law.

For example, the Attorney failed to inform the client:

  • The FBAR is on Automatic Extension through October, 2018.

Automatic Extension of the FinCEN 114 FBAR

Recently, in February of 2018, FinCEN issued a notice that the FBAR is on Automatic Extension.

What does that mean to you:

  • You automatically have until October 2018 to file your 2017 FBAR.
  • You do not have to file any form to obtain the extension.

Formal FinCEN 114 Notice can be found here.

The key language is as follows: “To implement the statute with minimal burden, FinCEN will grant filers failing to meet the FBAR annual due date of April 15 an automatic extension to October 15 each year….Filers who fail to file their 2017 calendar year FBAR by April 17, 2018, have an automatic extension up to October 15, 2018

10 Steps to Filing an FBAR (FinCEN 114)

This summary designed to assist you in filing the FBAR (otherwise known as the FinCEN Form 114 or TD 90.22-1). 

While the Form is not necessarily difficult to file, there are numerous pitfalls to consider before filing.

When you file an FBAR directly, you are making a proactive representation to the IRS, and as International Tax Attorneys we do not recommend making a proactive representation to the IRS unless you have counsel.

Nevertheless, as entrepreneurs ourselves, we understand that many “Do It Yourselfers” will want to tackle this form without counsel. To that end, we have prepared our own set of basic instructions.

While they not account for all potential issues you may face, they may help you understand factors to considers, and steps to take in filing the Form.

What is the FBAR?

FBAR is the Report of Foreign bank and Financial Account form. It is one of the most common IRS international tax forms, because it has a relatively low threshold requirement, and is a very broad form, encompassing many different types of foreign accounts.

Important FBAR Definitions

Foreign

Outside of the United States. No same-country exception for reporting.

Account

Account includes much more than just “Bank Accounts.” See below for an expanded summary.

Reporting

Means the filing of the FBAR form, online on the FinCEN website.

FBAR

Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Account Form.

TD 90.22-1

TD stands for Treasury Department and is another way to identify the form.

FinCEN Form 114

FinCEN is a financial crimes enforcement network. FinCEN created the form initially back in the 1970s, but now the IRS enforces penalties.

BSA

The Bank Secrecy Act

How to File The Form

While we always recommend using a tax professional when submitting forms to the IRS, we understand many of you want to do it yourself. This guide is intended to provide you the basics of reporting. It is not intended for you to rely (or your tax professional) in actually filing the form. The summary is basic, and there are many other factors that may impact your specific filing, especially if it is a late filing.

Step 1 – Are you a U.S. Person?

The form must be filed by U.S. persons. In order to confuse you, the IRS does not define US person to mean the same as U.S. Citizen. A US person typically falls into three categories: U.S. Citizen, Legal Permanent Resident, Foreign National who meets the IRS Substantial Presence Test (typically individuals on H-1B Visa, L-1 Visas, and E-2 Visas – although it is not a requirement to have one of these Visas).

If you are a US person, then you move on to step two.

Step 2 – Do You Meet the Threshold Requirements?

The threshold requirements are relatively simple. On any day of the year, if you aggregated (totaled) the maximum balances of all of your foreign accounts, does that total amount exceed 10,000? If it does, then you have to file the form. The most important thing to remember is you do not need to have more than $10,000 in each account; rather, it is an annual aggregate total of the maximum balances of all the accounts.

Step 3 – Identify What is an Account

This is one of the more difficult parts of the job. That is because when a person thinks of financial accounts, they typically think of a “Bank Account.” It makes sense, since the word “Bank” is included directly in the FBAR definition. Therefore, many people (understandably so) will only focus just on bank accounts. Unfortunately, you have to include all financial accounts unless it is otherwise excluded (and there are only a few exclusions).

Some examples of other accounts include:

  • Stock accounts that have an Account Number
  • Private Pension Accounts
  • Investment Accounts
  • Foreign Mutual Funds and ETF Accounts
  • Foreign Life Insurance that has a Surrender Value

Step 4 – How Many Accounts Do You Have?

This is an important question, because if you have more than 25 accounts then you do not have to list all of the accounts on the actual form. Rather, you maintain your own records so that the IRS contacts you on a future date, you will have that information available.

Like most people, if you have less than 25 accounts then you would report all the accounts on the FBAR. It does not matter if your account has a zero balance, and it does not matter if the account was “dormant.” If the account is open and you are listed on the account, you have to report it.

Step 5 – What is Your relationship to the Account?

There are different sections of the FBAR. The sections are broken down into three main categories, which include ownership of the Account, co-ownership or joint ownership of the account, and signature authority and/or no monetary interest in the account.

The latter category typically includes people who may have been included on the account in emergency when a parent or elderly individual is getting on age. Also, if you are an employee and you have signature authority, that is included as well.

Step 6 – Categorize the Different Accounts

It is important that you prepare separate categories to identify each different type of account. That is to make sure that, for example, you do not report an account you have signature authority in this section that is labeled account ownership, because then the IRS and U.S. government will believe that the money listed is your own money — as opposed to money for which you may have no ownership over.

Step 7 – Determine the Maximum Balance

You are not required to search for the holy Grail of maximum balances. In other words, you should do the best you can. If you have bank statements for each month, then you would use each month statement to determine what the maximum value is. Likewise, if you have a passport account passbook account and you only get it updated when you enter the bank, then you will have to use the best value you can.

Thereafter, make sure you have identified the maximum balance available for each account.

Step 8 – Use the Exchange Rate

You are not required to use any specific exchange rate, but it has to be reasonable. Both the Department of Treasury and the IRS each publish their own annual exchange rates and feasibly, either exchange-rate would be okay to use.

It is important to make sure that you use the respective exchange rate for the year at issue. Sorry for those of you with euros, rupees or rubles who want to use current exchange rates for prior years.

If you are submitting to one of the offshore disclosure programs or a reasonable cause statement and have to go back six years, then you will have to use the rate that was available six years ago and not today’s rate for filing prior forms.

Step 9 – Complete the FBAR

The FBAR is a relatively simple from a preparation standpoint. In other words, for each account, you will identify the name of the institution, the address and the maximum balance. There’s not much more needed beyond this information.

If you are unable to access the maximum balance or even come up with your best estimate, you can mark off maximum balance unknown for each account of which this is applicable.

Keeping in mind, that the more you marked off “maximum balance unknown” the higher the chance that the FBAR might be further scrutinized. If you are in this type of situation, please be sure to speak with an experienced Offshore Disclosure Lawyer first.

Step 10 – Filing a Late FBAR(s)

At our International Tax Law Firm (Golding & Golding), offshore disclosure is all we do, and this includes Late FBAR Filings, and FATCA Compliance.

Filing a late FBAR outside of the offshore disclosure programs is typically considered a Quiet Disclosure and can land you in some real trouble. If you happen to have zero unreported income (that means zero unreported income from abroad and not zero tax liability) you may be able to qualify for the delinquency procedures, which results in a penalty waiver and a relatively simple submission procedure.

If you have any unreported income, you can still make a reasonable cause submission but it is different. Most individuals prefer to enter one of the approved programs such as streamlined filing compliance procedures or traditional OVDP — you may have multiple options available to you.

Depending on which program you qualify for, and/or which program you prefer to enter, you may qualify for reduced penalty for even a penalty waiver.

We do not recommend making any submission to the Internal Revenue Service regarding any foreign or offshore accounts without at least speaking with an experienced offshore disclosure lawyer first to evaluate and assess your facts.

What Can You Do?

Presuming the money was from legal sources, your best options are either the Traditional IRS Voluntary Disclosure Program, or one of the Streamlined Offshore Disclosure Programs.

We Specialize in Safely Disclosing Foreign Money

We have successfully handled a diverse range of IRS Voluntary Disclosure and International Tax Investigation/Examination cases involving FBAR, FATCA, and high-stakes matters for clients around the globe (In over 65 countries!)

Whether it is a simple or complex case, safely getting clients into compliance is our passion, and we take it very seriously.

Who Decides to Disclose Unreported Money?

What Types of Clients Do we Represent?

We represent Attorneys, CPAs, Doctors, Investors, Engineers, Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Professors, Athletes, Actors, Entry-Level staff, Students, Former/Current IRS Agents and more.

You are not alone, and you are not the only one to find himself or herself in this situation.

Sean M. Golding, JD, LL.M., EA (Board Certified Tax Law Specialist)

Our Managing Partner, Sean M. Golding, JD, LLM, EA  earned an LL.M. (Master’s in Tax Law) from the University of Denver and is also an Enrolled Agent (the highest credential awarded by the IRS, and authorizes him to represent clients nationwide.)

Mr. Golding and his team have successfully handled several hundred IRS Offshore/Voluntary Disclosure Procedure cases. Whether it is a simple or complex case, safely getting clients into compliance is our passion, and we take it very seriously.

He is frequently called upon to lecture and write on issues involving IRS Voluntary Disclosure.

Less than 1% of Tax Attorneys Nationwide are Board Certified Tax Law Specialists 

The Board Certified Tax Law Specialist exam is offered in many states, and is widely regarded as one of (if not) the hardest tax exam given in the United States for practicing Attorneys. Certification also requires the completion of significant ethics and experience requirements.

In California alone, out of more than 200,000 practicing attorneys (with thousands of attorneys practicing in some area of tax law), less than 350 attorneys are Board Certified Tax Law Specialists.

Beware of Copycat Law Firms

Unlike other attorneys who call themselves specialists or experts in Voluntary Disclosure but are not “Board Certified,” handle 5-10 different areas of tax law, purchase multiple keyword specific domain names, and even practice outside of tax, we are absolutely dedicated to Offshore Voluntary Disclosure.

*Click here to learn the benefits of retaining a Board Certified Tax Law Specialist with advanced tax credentials.

4 Types of IRS Voluntary Disclosure Programs

There are typically four types of IRS Voluntary Disclosure programs, and they include:

Contact Us Today; Let us Help You.

International Tax Lawyers - Golding & Golding, A PLC

International Tax Lawyers - Golding & Golding, A PLC

Golding & Golding: Our International Tax Lawyers practice exclusively in the area of IRS Offshore & Voluntary Disclosure. We represent clients in 70 different countries. Managing Partner, Sean M. Golding, JD, LL.M., EA and his team have represented thousands of clients in all aspects of IRS offshore disclosure and compliance during his 20-year career as an Attorney. Mr. Golding's articles have been referenced in such publications as the Washington Post, Forbes, Nolo and various Law Journals nationwide.

Sean holds a Master's in Tax Law from one of the top Tax LL.M. programs in the country at the University of Denver, and has also earned the prestigious Enrolled Agent credential. Mr. Golding is also a Board Certified Tax Law Specialist Attorney (A designation earned by Less than 1% of Attorneys nationwide.)
International Tax Lawyers - Golding & Golding, A PLC