The U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has extended the deadline for Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) filings for individuals with signature authority over, but not financial interest in, foreign financial accounts. In 2012, the deadline was extended to June of this year; the latest extension moves it to June 30, 2015.
FinCEN has yet to decide which prior reporting periods these individuals will have to report on by June 30 of next year. Analysis of FBAR-related notices indicates that individuals might have to file reports stretching as far back as 2009. According to FinCEN, “This matter is under consideration.”
Another issue is determining which individuals were associated with accounts whose balances, combined, crossed the US$10,000 threshold during a prior year. “And that’s not just bank accounts,” Hunt points out. “It could be securities accounts, it could be custody accounts. If companies don’t have their bank account reports from 2010 or 2011, it’s going to be very difficult for them to go back and create historical balances. Again, I’ve heard a lot of companies are being very conservative and probably over-reporting for the sake of not having to deal with it later.”
Finally, Hunt says, is the issue of determining which employees and officers had the appropriate authority over those accounts in a given year. It will prove a challenging task for some organizations. “If an employee leaves during the year, they’re still liable to file an FBAR for your company for that year,” he says. “In that case, you’ll have to track them down. So treasurers are working with their HR departments, looping them in to know when there’s any employment change that could impact some of the filings, as well as impact who’s cast within the definition of required filers.”