New FBAR-Related FinCEN Form Released

On July 29, 2013, FinCEN released FinCEN Form 114(a), Record of Authorization to Electronically File FBARs.  Effective July 1, 2013, FBAR forms are required to be filed electronically.  An FBAR is a form that is required to be filed annually on June 30 with the Department of Treasury to report a U.S. taxpayer’s financial interest in, or signature authority over, foreign bank accounts.  While the FBAR is a pure information return (and not a tax return), the Department of Treasury receives valuable information from the FBAR that it uses to assess whether U.S. taxpayers are properly reporting all foreign source income.  FBARs can be filed at http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/Enroll_Individual.html.

Form 114(a) serves as a power of attorney that grants to an individual or entity the authority to complete and submit the FBAR on behalf of an account owner.  The form also grants to the individual or entity the power to resolve issues and answer inquiries related to the FBAR that is filed.  A copy of the form can be obtained at http://www.fincen.gov/forms/files/FBARE-FileAuth114aRecordSP.pdf.

The requirement to complete a Form 114(a) likely applies in one of two circumstances: (1) account owners granting authority to an accountant to complete and file FBARs on behalf of the account owners, and (2) a spouse granting the other spouse with the authority to file a joint FBAR. 

Form 114(a) is not filed with FinCEN, but instead, is retained by the third party and the account owner.  The form is required to be provided to FinCEN or the IRS upon request.

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