Archive for the ‘FINCEN’ Category

FBAR Changes for 2014

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

There have been some changes made by by FINCEN (the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) for the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) for 2014. While overall these are minor, they will impact everyone who files an FBAR.

First, Form TD F 90-22.1 is no more. The FBAR has a new form number, Form 114.

Second, as of last July the FBAR must be electronically filed. The good news is that as of last October, your tax accountant can file the form for you as long as you complete Form 114a.

Third, as of January 1st, you don’t have to register to efile an FBAR. You can now just go the BSA efile website, follow the instructions and file the form. Do note that past experience is that the BSA efile website works well in Internet Explorer but might not work in Firefox or Chrome.

And most importantly, the definition of who must file has changed slightly. The new rule effective November 23, 2013, states:

United States persons are required to file an FBAR if:

The United States person 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. [emphasis added]

It used to be that the rule was take the maximum value of each account, sum the maximums, and compare the sum to $10,000. Now, the rule (except for dollar amounts) matches that of FATCA (except for dollar amounts) in that it looks at your value in an account on one day.

Some things haven’t changed, though. The FBAR is due on June 30th and there are no extensions. If you have a foreign financial account you must check a box at the bottom of Schedule B even if you don’t need to file the FBAR. There’s a second box you must check if you need to file an FBAR, and you have to list the countries you have foreign accounts in (if you must file an FBAR) on your tax return. Thus, if you do need to file the FBAR, get your information together as your tax professional will need it in order to file your return.

It Only Took Six Years to Get an Answer….

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

I currently have an audit reconsideration case that’s been on hold for eighteen months. I guess I have nothing to complain about, though. One unlucky attorney waited over six years to get an answer from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN).

On October 22, 2007, an attorney asked, “…[W]hether a payment mechanism based on payable-through drafts that the Company offers to its commercial customers (the “customers”) makes the Company a money transmitter under the regulations.” On November 13, 2013, FINCEN said yes.

There is a bit more to this case than what’s noted above. FINCEN issued regulations in July 2011 that impacts the specific facts and circumstances of the matter. And I’m not really that concerned with this issue (it has no direct impact on my clients).

What does bother me is that there’s no obvious reason why it took FINCEN six years to respond. Of course, my client waiting for his audit reconsideration is hoping that it won’t be another 54 months for his case to be reviewed.