If you have a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account, exceeding certain thresholds, the Bank Secrecy Act may require you to report the account yearly to the Department of Treasury by electronically filing a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). See the ‘Who Must File an FBAR’ section below for additional criteria.
Who must file FBAR?
The law states that U.S. persons having a financial interest in or signature authority over one or more foreign financial accounts – including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, estate, pension, cash-value life insurance or other type of foreign financial account – having an aggregate value exceeding $10,000 at any time during 2014 are generally required by the Bank Secrecy Act to report their interest in the account by electronically filing by June 30, 2015 using FinCEN Form 114, ”Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts” (FBAR). A U.S. person may have a reporting obligation even though the foreign financial account does not generate any taxable income.
What is FinCEN Form 114
Effective October 1, 2013, FinCEN Form 114 must be filed electronically via the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network website at its Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) E-Filing System. If the US person uses a paid preparer to e-file on their behalf, Form 114a, Record of Authorization to Electronically File FBARs, must be complete before their FBAR is filed online and the paid preparer must maintain the form in their records in case it is requested by FinCEN. Registration is required through the BSA E-Filing System. The US person can complete the registration if they file the form, or tax practitioners can register and e-file on behalf of their clients.
E-Fil FinCEN Form 114 (New FBAR)
FinCEN is attempting to make the new e-filing user friendly. The mandatory e-filing requirement information, capability to register and to upload completed FBARs, and new Form 114 for those individuals and businesses that must file an FBAR is accessible through the BSA e-file website.