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New FBAR E-Filing System

Earlier this week, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced in a news release it now offers to taxpayers who are required to file FBARs (Form TD F 90-22.1) the option to file the form electronically through FinCEN’s BSA E-Filing system. Who is required to file an FBAR?

A U.S. person who has a financial interest in or signature authority over foreign financial accounts must file an FBAR if the aggregate value of the foreign financial account exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

This is only a step in the right direction, but it’s a start. Taxpayers who have joint reportable accounts and want to electronically file must file separate forms online; currently, the system can only handle one signature per FBAR. Also, a taxpayer’s accountant or attorney cannot file the FBAR on the client’s behalf. I suppose FinCEN isn’t very interested in paralleling BSA with the IRS e-file system at this time.

A taxpayer who has been required to file FBARs over the past several years but hasn’t should strongly consider coming forward. The deadline to participate in the 2011 IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative is rapidly approaching.

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