Even though the tax filing deadline has been extended to May 17 this year, the FBAR is still due on April 15.
That’s because the FBAR is handled by the US Treasury Department while the rest of your tax return is handled by the IRS. These are two separate government agencies, each with its own rules and timelines this year.
According to the official IRS release below, filers who miss the April 15 deadline will be granted an automatic extension to October 15, 2021 to file the FBAR.
IR-2021-83, April 9, 2021
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is reminding U.S. citizens, resident aliens and any domestic legal entity that the deadline to file their annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) is still April 15, 2021.
The extension of the federal income tax filing due date and other tax deadlines for individuals to May 17, 2021, does not affect the FBAR requirement.
However, filers missing the April 15 deadline will receive an automatic extension until October 15, 2021, to file the FBAR. They don’t need to request the extension.
Who must report
The Bank Secrecy Act requires U.S. persons to file a FBAR if they have:
- Financial interest in, signature authority or other authority over one or more accounts, such as a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund or other financial account in a foreign country, and
- The aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.
Because of this threshold, the IRS encourages U.S. persons or entities with foreign accounts, even relatively small ones, to check if this filing requirement applies to them.
A U.S. person is a citizen or resident of the United States or any domestic legal entity such as a partnership, corporation, limited liability company, estate or trust.
The 2021 FBAR must be filed electronically with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and is only available through the BSA E-Filing System website. Taxpayers who are unable to e-file their FBAR must call FinCEN at 800-949-2732, from outside the U.S. at 703-905-3975.
Penalties for failure to file an FBAR
Those who don’t file an FBAR when required may be subject to significant civil and criminal penalties that can result in a fine and/or prison. The IRS will not penalize those who properly reported a foreign account on a late-filed FBAR if the IRS determines there was reasonable cause for late filing.
More details and help available
IRS.gov has several resources available 24 hours a day:
- How to report foreign bank and financial accounts
- International Taxpayers
- IRS Tax Map
- IRS FBAR Reference Guide PDF
- FAQs About International Individual Tax Matters
- FinCEN’s website Reporting Maximum Account Value
To help avoid delays with tax refunds, taxpayers living abroad should visit Helpful Tips for Effectively Receiving a Tax Refund for Taxpayers Living Abroad on IRS.gov.