AICPA Submits FBAR Comment Letter

Jun 14, 2011   

The AICPA submitted a comment letter last week calling for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) to reduce or eliminate select filings of Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Account (“FBAR”) for 2009 and prior years. The AICPAs comments come as the deadline approaches for filers who previously deferred from the June 30, 2010 and June 30, 2009 deadlines under Notices 2010-23 and 2009-62. Now, those filers are under the gun to analyze their data and determine appropriate filing or non-filing positions before June 30, 2011. The AICPA proposes waiving the filing requirement for those with signatory authority over, but no financial interest in, a foreign bank or financial account.

Alternatively, if FinCEN chooses not to make such a waiver, the AICPA makes the following recommendations:

  1. Given the limited use of, and difficulty to collect, the necessary data to file, FinCEN should limit the filings of prior year signatory FBARs to 2008 and 2009. Thus, it would require three years of FBAR filings (2008, 2009, 2010).
  2. Prior year FBAR filings under Notice 2010-23 are now due on June 30, 2011. FinCEN should adopt the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) due date, August 31, 2011, to conform to IRS guidance.
  3. Situations may arise where a signatory is no longer has access to account data, such as when the account is maintained by a former employer. In such situations, FinCEN should strongly consider extending a hardship waiver or exception for persons with signatory authority over, but no financial interest in, a foreign financial account.

The comment letter also demands immediate, definitive guidance on prior year signatory FBAR filings. You can read the complete letter here.

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