U.S. persons who maintain bank accounts overseas with high balances arerequired to file the Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Reports (FBARs) eachyear. Effective July 1, 2013, all FBARs must be filed electronically using theE-Filing System maintained by the Department of Treasury’s Financial CrimesEnforcement Network (FinCEN). On July 29, 2013, FinCEN introduced a new form FinCEN Form 114(a), Record of Authorization toElectronically File FBARs. This form permits a U.S. person with foreign bankaccounts to authorize a third party (such as a tax preparer or a CPA) to fileFBARs on behalf of the account holder. This form also allows spouses to jointlyfile an FBAR. In the past, if married couples jointly owned foreign accounts,they either both needed to file FBARs or both sign in the signature box of theFBARs. This new form permits FBARs to be signed and filed jointly by marriedcouples. Also, this form would not be filed with FinCEN. Account holders andfilers must keep this form for 5 years and produce the form upon request byFinCEN or IRS.
FinCEN is also making technical revisions to its E-Filing system toaccommodate FBAR e-filings and batch filing capacity. A BSA E-FilingTest website has been establish for such purpose.