On Friday, October 16, 2020, at 6:30 pm Eastern, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) released yet another announcement, this time extending the deadline for all Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs) (FinCEN Form 114) for the 2019 calendar year to October 31, 2020.
Friday’s announcement follows a confusing series of events that began on the eve of last Thursday’s FBAR deadline. On Wednesday, October 14, 2020, a one-sentence announcement appeared on FinCEN’s website indicating that the FBAR filing deadline was extended for all filers from October 15, 2020 until December 31, 2020. By the afternoon of Thursday, October 15, 2020, the announcement had been removed without explanation. At 4:26 pm Eastern on October 15, 2020, FinCEN released an email blast stating that the extended deadline of December 31, 2020 applied only to persons residing in certain natural disaster areas, as specified in a previous announcement issued by FinCEN on October 6, 2020. Needless to say, the erroneous announcement on October 14, 2020 led directly to many filers missing the October 15, 2020 filing deadline.
FinCEN used Friday evening’s announcement to acknowledge its error and apologize for “any confusion this has caused.” FinCEN advised that it “coordinated with the IRS to address the concerns of filers who may have missed their filing deadline due to the October 14, 2020 message.” Most importantly, FinCEN announced that “filers who file their 2019 calendar year FBAR by October 31, 2020 will be deemed to have timely filed,” and confirmed, once again, that filers who qualify for relief under FinCEN’s October 6, 2020 announcement pertaining to people affected by certain natural disasters have until December 31, 2020 to file their FBARs for the 2019 calendar year.