URGENT! FinCEN Withdraws Notice! Only FBAR Filers in Disaster Area Extended to 12/31/2020!

At approximately 4:26 pm Eastern on October 15, 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued an email blast that its announcement on October 14, 2020 extending the deadline for filing Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs) (FinCEN Form 114) was in error.

The erroneous October 14, 2020 post read:

The FBAR deadline for Federal tax year 2019 has been moved from 15 Oct 2020 to 31 Dec 2020. If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact the BSA E-Filing Help Desk.

Earlier today, however, the announcement of the extension to December 31, 2020 disappeared from FinCEN’s website with no explanation. It was later replaced by the following announcement:

FBAR Clarification
October 15, 2020

An October 14, 2020 posting on the BSA E-Filing website implied a filing extension for all Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) filers until December 31, 2020. The extension until December 31, 2020 is only available for victims of recent natural disasters:

FinCEN’s clarifying announcement can be found here.

As stated in the announcement, for filers residing in an area affected by a recent natural disaster as specified in FinCEN’s October 6, 2020 announcement, which can be found here, the extended FBAR deadline remains December 31, 2020.

Of course, FinCEN’s mixed messages may cause some filers to miss the FBAR filing deadline upon the mistaken belief that the deadline had been extended. Such filers will have strong reasonable cause arguments to avoid penalties for late FBAR filings. Filers who find themselves in such a situation will want to rely on FinCEN’s retracted announcement from yesterday, a copy of which can be found here.

We will continue to post any FinCEN announcements related to this issue.