When is the FBAR filing deadline?

For U.S. citizens and green card holders living abroad, also known as expatriates or "expats", it is important to keep abreast of U.S. tax and foreign account reporting deadlines.

Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR): The New FBAR Filing Deadline

If you are unable to file your FBAR by the filing deadline, a six-month automatic extension is available, moving the deadline to October 15th. No additional paperwork is necessary to do so.

An expat is required to file an FBAR if their total aggregate balance of foreign financial accounts on any given day exceeds $10,000. The typical accounts held overseas are:

  • Your bank accounts
  • Investment accounts, and
  • Retirement accounts

Remember: this threshold applies to all accounts you own separately and jointly, as well as accounts in which you may not own or have a financial interest in, but do have signature authority over. An example of the latter includes bank accounts that you are in charge of at your place of employment or through a business in which you hold interest.

Expat Income Tax Returns

The deadline for expats to file their individual return for 2018 is generally June 15, 2019. This is because expats living overseas on the regular deadline qualify for an automatic-two month filing extension. Though this automatic-two month filing extension does apply to FBARs as well, the six-month automatic extension supersedes the shorter extension and should give expats more time to collect their tax documents for FBAR reporting. As an added benefit, no additional paperwork is required to receive this extension.

Importantly, expats are still required to pay any tax due by April 15, 2019, even if they plan on filing their return by June 15. If you don't pay taxes due by April 15, 2019 the IRS won't assess a failure to pay penalty if you file and pay by June 15, 2019. However, you'll still be charged interest on the unpaid amount if you don't pay by the April deadline.

It is always best to start your tax filing as soon as possible, even if you are still missing a document or two. Many expats start the filing process later in the filing season, so getting in the door early can expedite your virtual tax filing experience. Expat taxes, including the new FBAR deadline and the extended deadlines for tax returns can get tricky, which is why you should let the pros help. To get your tax filing started, contact H&R Block Expat Tax Services today.

- Contributing Author: Mohit Sandhu, H&R Block Expat Tax Services

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