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SCOTUS Rules Against IRS on FBAR

This is a setback for the agency

Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) weighed in on an issue regarding a provision of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) that has split two federal courts of appeal. Its 5-4 ruling in Bittner v. U.S. is welcome news for U.S. residents who “non-willfully” violate the law’s requirements for the reporting of certain foreign bank and financial accounts on what’s generally known as a FBAR. The full name of a FBAR is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.

Reporting requirement

The BSA requires “U.S. persons” to annually file a FBAR to report all financial interests in, or signature or other authority over, financial accounts located outside the country (with certain exceptions) if the aggregate value of the accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. The term “U.S. person” includes a citizen, resident, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, trust or estate.

According to related regulations, individuals with fewer than 25 accounts in a given year must provide details about each. Filers with 25 or more accounts aren’t required to list each or provide specific details; they need only provide the number of accounts and certain other basic information. FBARs generally are due on April 15, with an automatic extension to Oct. 15 if the April deadline isn’t met.

Please select this link to read the complete article from OSAP Strategic Partner Clark Schaefer Hackett.

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