October 31 2020 FBAR Deadline | FBAR Tax Lawyer & Attorney

US taxpayers can still timely file their 2019 FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) by the new October 31 2020 FBAR deadline. This FBAR deadline extension is highly unusual and requires some explanation.

October 31 2020 FBAR Deadline: What is FBAR?

The Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”) is officially known as FinCen Form 114. This form must be filed by US persons with an ownership interest in or signatory authority or any other authority over foreign bank and financial accounts if the aggregate value of such accounts exceeds $10,000 at any point during a calendar year. This is a very important US international information return; a failure to timely and correctly file an FBAR may result in an imposition of draconian FBAR penalties. This is why it is so important to learn about FBAR deadlines.

October 31 2020 FBAR Deadline & FinCEN Mistake

The 2019 FBAR deadline extension became possible as a result of an incorrect message posted by FinCEN on its BSA (Bank Secrecy Act) website. On October 14, 2020, FinCEN posted a message that incorrectly stated that the 2019 FBAR deadline was extended to December 31, 2020 for all FBAR filers. Within twenty-four hours, FinCEN removed the message.

On October 16, 2020, FinCEN posted a corrected message that stated that the extension to December 31, 2020, was intended only for victims of recent natural disasters listed in FinCEN’s October 6, 2020 notice.

Since, however, there were filers who have missed the October 15 deadline due to the incorrect October 14 message, FinCEN decided to allow these filers to have an extra couple of weeks to file their 2019 FBARs. For this reason, FinCEN established a new October 31 2020 FBAR deadline for all FBAR filers (except those who were victims of natural disasters listed in the aforementioned October 6 list).

October 31 2020 FBAR Deadline & December 31 2020 FBAR Deadline

Thus, there are two separate FBAR filing deadline extensions still outstanding. The first one is the October 31 2020 FBAR deadline which applies to all FBAR filers except the ones who are also eligible for the second deadline extension.

The second deadline extension to December 31, 2020 applies only to victims of natural disasters listed in FinCEN’s October 6, 2020 notice.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help with FBAR Compliance

Sherayzen Law Office is a leading US international tax law firm that specializes in US international tax law and FBAR compliance. We have filed thousands of FBARs for our clients. We have also helped US taxpayers from over 70 countries to deal with FBAR filing violations for prior years, including as part of a voluntary disclosure (such as Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures, Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures, Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures and Reasonable Cause disclosures). Our FBAR clients include individuals, corporations, partnerships, estates, trusts and disregarded entities.

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FBAR Disclosure: Fighting the Small Accounts Myth

A Minneapolis attorney recently said to me that he has a client who has not filed the FBARs but that client has a number of small accounts and no large accounts; the attorney wanted my opinion on whether it is worth it for smaller clients to go through the trouble of disclosing the accounts to the IRS. My answer was an emphatic YES!

This is exactly the type of myths that I have to battle when I get calls from all around the world from potential clients with smaller accounts. The general impression among these clients is that the IRS will only enforce the FBAR requirement against the “big fish” and there is no need to trouble themselves with voluntary disclosure of the FBARs.

Unfortunately, this impression cannot be further from the truth. Tax experts around the country agree that the IRS enforcement of the FBAR requirements has risen to an unprecedented level. The risk of detection, especially once FATCA is fully implemented by the end of the year 2013, has been steadily growing since the 2008 UBS case, fed further by the information disclosed by the participants in the IRS voluntary disclosure programs. As a result, the number of the FBAR prosecutions by the IRS has also risen dramatically.

Given the draconian penalties associated with willful failure to file the FBAR and the high risk of detection, it is imperative for the small accountholders to go through the voluntary disclosure process (either through the 2012 OVDP or its alternatives) before the IRS finds them.

Moreover, for the smaller taxpayers who just found out about the FBAR and who may have a reasonable cause argument, there is an incentive to disclose the FBARs as soon as possible because, with an able attorney experienced in FBAR disclosures, they may be able to dramatically reduce and even eliminate the FBAR penalties.

However, the original non-willfulness can easily grow into willfulness where the taxpayers learn about the existence of the FBAR requirement, consciously disregard it and fail to file the FBARs. At that point, the original innocence of non-willful ignorance is gone, and the taxpayer is likely to face the imposition of much heavier penalties by the IRS.

It is worth noting, moreover, that in these willful cases, the imperative to do voluntary disclosure should be even higher precisely because the IRS is likely to impose unbearably high penalties otherwise. This is why the IRS created the 2012 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program so that these taxpayers can bring themselves back into tax compliance without fear of criminal prosecution.

It should be clear to all non-compliant US taxpayers – voluntary disclosure of offshore accounts is almost always better than the IRS finding your non-disclosed account. In my practice, the practice of FBAR voluntary disclosure has always been more beneficial to my clients whether they were located in Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, Tampa, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland or any other country.

Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Help with Delinquent FBARs

If you have undisclosed foreign accounts and have not filed your FBARs, contact Sherayzen Law Office for help. Our experienced FBAR tax firm will thoroughly analyze your case, assess your current FBAR liability, examine your voluntary disclosure options and implement a comprehensive voluntary disclosure strategy striving to achieve the best result for you.