Effective immediately, filers of Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (known as the “FBAR”) may opt to file the FBAR electronically. The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced the long-awaited e-file option for the FBAR.
United States persons are required to file an FBAR if they had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States; and the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year to be reported.
Filers do not file the FBAR with their federal income tax return. The FBAR must be received by the IRS on or before June 30 of the year following the calendar year being reported. Previously, the only option for filers was to file the FBAR on paper. Electronic filing was not an option until now.
To electronically file the FBAR, filers must apply and obtain a user ID. FinCEN reported it will review the application for accuracy and issue a user ID. Additionally, filers must download a free forms viewer, which allows for the preparation of electronic returns and their transmittal. The e-filing platform also has certain operational system specifications.
FinCEN noted that its current capability only allows for one digital signature on an e-filed FBAR. Therefore, each spouse must file a separate FBAR if they choose to file electronically, FinCEN explained. Additionally, FinCen reported that tax preparation software cannot, at this time, be used to create and file the FBAR. FinCEN added it is working to create that capability.
Paper option retained
Filers may continue to file the FBAR on paper if they choose. Any change in that policy will be announced by FinCEN.
(FinCEN News Release, July 18, 2011)