If you’ve ever filed a foreign bank account report (FBAR), then June 30 may be ingrained in your memory as the filing deadline. It’s been very important to remember that date because it’s out of synch with other individual filing deadlines, and there’s no extension available. Of course, a taxpayer can file FinCEN Form 114 earlier in the year. For convenience, many individuals file the FBAR together with their income tax returns. If the income tax return is filed on or before April 15, that’s great, but the taxpayer can be caught in a trap if she extends her income tax return to October and forgets to file the FBAR by June 30.
At last, Congress has passed a law resolving this due date disparity. Beginning in 2017 (reporting for the 2016 calendar year), the FBAR will share the same filing deadline as individual income tax returns, April 15. Like income tax returns, FBARs will be permitted to go on extension up to six months, for a final deadline of Oct. 15. Even better, there will be relief available for first-time filers who miss the extension deadline or fail to make an extension request. Penalties may be waived in those cases.
This exciting development hasn’t taken effect yet. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2015, FBARs are still due by June 30, 2016. No extension is available this year, so file as usual, electronically, using the BSA E-Filing System: http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/main.html. The new April 15 due date and 6-month extension will apply in 2017, for taxpayers reporting information from the 2016 calendar year. This law doesn’t change the e-filing requirements.
The change was enacted July 31, 2015 as Section 2006(b)(11) of P.L. 114-41, the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015: https://congress.gov/114/plaws/publ41/PLAW-114publ41.pdf.