I received this email from my Enrolled Agent today!
Dear Valued Client,
The IRS and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Nework (FinCen) announced on Friday that paper FBARs will no longer be acceptedas of today, July 1, 2013. If you have not filed your 2012 FBAR yet and you intend to file it yourself, you will need to create an account at FinCen’s Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) e-filing website http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/main.html to file your FBAR. After you create your account you will be given a PIN code. You must then logon to the website whose link you will receive via email, click on the FBAR link on the left side of the website and manually enter all of your FBAR data into the writeable pdf version of their FBAR form. I recommend you also save the FBAR to your computer before you click the button to e-file it.
Professional tax software programs are not yet capable of e-filing FBARs so professional tax preparers must manually enter your FBAR data into the FinCen website. We will be happy to do this for you, however due to the additional work and time involved, we must raise our fees for FBAR preparation to CHF 20 per account if we e-file the form for you. We will also just prepare a paper FBAR for you that you may copy into the FinCen website for our normal fee of CHF 10 per account.
The professional tax software companies are frantically working on a solution to allow professional tax preparers to e-file the FBARs directly from our software. As soon as such a solution is in place, our FBAR preparation and e-filing fee will return to CHF 10 per account.
I’ve known two people who’ve taken advantage of the CRA’s amnesty program. The message from the CRA was ‘better to make things right before we find you’. In other words, the fact that you’ve come forward gives you brownie points, it seems. Not so with the IRS, coming forward only puts more nails in your coffin, which TAS is given the task of pulling out.
Oh crap! It looks like Canada has now reverse engineered T1135, in a most perverse manner, from the idiotic and intrusive FuBAR. Couldn’t leave well enough alone it seems. This year was the first year we had to do a T1135 and we were pleasantly surprised by how reasonable it was. (Next year will hopefully be the last year.) Sadly, those wicked tax tactics from the south are creeping into Canada.
By the way, someone’s definition of “significant” (as “the changes to the T1135 are not significant”) does not square with me or likely anyone else either. We just want to have lives that aren’t plagued by endless tax forms and threatened by the word “compliance”.
Also, it looks like the T1135 pdf will only download with the latest version of Adobe Reader. My husband says there is a reason people don’t want to upgrade to this version because it has security problems (backdoor access).
Anyway thanks, calgary411, for alerting us to the changes. We wouldn’t have discovered that until tax time next year.
I am sure that all will agree with me that FinCEN, unfairly saddled by Treasury with a somewhat provocative name, is an organization that always acts immediately on our complaints and just wants to be helpful.
Here is the proof:
from Townsend http://federaltaxcrimes.blogspot.ca/2013/07/information-on-filing-delinquent-fbars.html#disqus_thread
“The Department of Treasury recently announced that after July 1, 2013, all FBAR reports for the tax year 2012 should be filed through the BSA E-Filing System and whenever practicable to do so.
Upon further inquiries to the FinCEN’s BSA Resource Center at 800-949-2732 we were informed by the agency that for this year they are providing a one-time electronic filing exemption past the
July 1, 2013 deadline. This means that the appropriate FBARs could be paper filed for this year…..
Jack Townsend Mod Theodore Kleinman • an hour ago
Mr. Kleinman, thanks for the information. I am sure that other readers will find it very helpful.
For comparison, go now to FinCEN website where you will find in bright red:
“REMINDER: ….. After July 1, 2013, all FBAR reports must be filed through the BSA E-Filing system. Questions may be directed to FinCEN’s BSA Resource Center at 800-949-2732.”
For the handful who still file FBARs and care about paper vs. mandatory e-file FBAR:
To find out for myself that the Townsend forum statement (above) was correct– that a one time exemption can be obtained after July 1 to file paper (vs. e-file) FBAR for the year 2013– I called FinCEN.
When you call FinCEN you can only leave a message and must provide a call-back number. Be prepared that the call back will be within minutes and, if you are not at that number, FinCEN may call you at another number (e.g., your home) as it has done with me. As you never provided the second (home) number to FinCEN, this can be somewhat unnerving the first time it happens. [But would the customer rep at your cable TV or cell phone company ever be as kind?]
The phone answer from FinCEN is yes, you can ask for a one-time e-filing FBAR exemption in order to go paper after July 2013, but it is only for filing the 2012 FBAR. In other words, the Townsend statement is somewhat misleading as there is no exemption (yet) to permit filing a paper 2013 FBAR (say in early 2014).
The very new (June 24, 2013) guidance on the exemption (which you must request by phone) is at: http://www.fincen.gov/statutes_regs/guidance/html/FIN-2013-G002.html
My read and understanding of the guidance document is different from that of the FinCEN phone rep, as I find no statement in guidance that the exemption cannot be for later years. If I really were interested in filing a paper FBAR in 2014 for 2013 year (e.g., because I have a MAC etc.), I would ask for an exemption and, if refused, go to the FBAR hotline and get that refusal in writing. I suspect that you will get the exemption.
The guidance acknowledges that there are very remote countries in the world, (Canada certainly is remote or at least very far away, Switzerland too?) in which internet access is difficult:
“In addition, FinCEN understands that, as of the July 1, 2013, deadline for mandatory electronic filing of the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), Form TD F 90-22.1, individuals in remote locations may not be able to meet that requirement because they lack Internet access.”
Also complained about angry MAC users etc. in our remote country–complaints will be passed on…
For further confirmation of the above I called the FBAR helpline. However, because of budget cuts (clearly caused by US people abroad who fail to pay their fair share) the office is closed today.
Did you just write that FinCEN called you at a number that by rights they should know nothing about? Could you possibly have put it down on a previous IRS tax form? This makes my tin foil hat positively glow.
@tdott, Yes, FinCEN only had my work (call back) number, and it was a bit of a surprise (not now) when I found a voice mail message from FinCEN at my home phone. This has never happened when I correspond with IRS. (Perhaps something to do with that name FinCEN…?)
FinCEN, I believe, is not part of IRS proper, and as I recall, I use my cell, not home phone number, on my recent IRS tax forms–but I could be mistaken.
There are obvious risks in seeking and in receiving information from FinCEN or IRS.
Just noticed voice mail message from FinCEN asking whether I need any assistance, because in one call today I did not leave message or call back number (tired of waiting and hung up).
This means that if you call FinCEN but DO NOT leave call back number, FinCEN will call you back.
That’s customer service!!
“…For further confirmation of the above I called the FBAR helpline. However, because of budget cuts (clearly caused by US people abroad who fail to pay their fair share) the office is closed today.”
Beautiful! Thanks for the much-needed laughs! Gotta love gallows humour!
@Bob, just another of the ‘benefits’ that we receive from the US. I think they were also shut down on the last work day just before the FBAR deadline.
This year the deadline was June 28.
They are just reading the number on your call display and NOT following your instructions to call you at a specified number. If it’s an 800 number you can’t block the number.
Sorry the number on THEIR call display.
Sorry, @all and @Bob, I was wrong. They CHOSE to shut down just before the usual June deadline for those ‘abroad’ to file the 1040 and associated forms, not the FBAR. Cause we don’t need assistance with our complex forms filing from ‘abroad’, and apparently they feel we don’t deserve it. I doubt they would shut down right before the usual 1040 deadline in April for US resident taxpayers! As per usual, they demand abject compliance from those of us living and paying taxes in full already to our non-US country of resdence outside the US – and are happy to provide lots of threats and confiscatory penalties, but actual service and assistance? Nope. The notices on our consulates and embassy websites STILL say IRS services or tax information sessions “cancelled due to budget cuts”. “Owing to budget cutbacks, the Internal Revenue Service will not/not be providing any in-person assistance or tax seminars at the U.S. Embassy and certain of the Consulates General in Canada.” http://canada.usembassy.gov/service/taxpayer-assistance2.html That message has been there since at least August 2011. Curious to know exactly how many years they were unable/unwilling to assist over 1 million of those ‘taxable persons’ right next door in Canada and the millions elsewhere in the world.
Yup, plenty of federal salaried IRS and other staff time happily spent typing in our FBARs and calculating penalties in OVD, but not able to send some IRS staff from offices along the longest shared border – say from upstate NY – to Toronto. Guess that would just be too much to ask on behalf of the second largest population of those the US says are ‘US taxable persons’ – in Canada. What about that promise to Congress – that if the IRS got its powerful and confiscatory ‘non-wilfull’ penalties on the FBAR, it would provide ‘education’ for those ‘abroad’ who’d never heard of it? Just asking. Again. Unless, you consider a bankrupting and unconstitutional penalty structure to be ‘education’ – as in “that’ll teach those non-filing jaywalkers ‘abroad’ “…..
As noted here:
“……the IRS is gearing up to shut down its operations on Friday, June 14 due to budget constraints. This means all IRS offices, as well as toll-free hotlines, the Taxpayer Advocate Service and the IRS’ approximately 400 taxpayer assistance centers nationwide will be closed for business.
“IRS employees will be furloughed without pay,” the agency said in a release. “No tax returns will be processed and no compliance-related activities will take place. In addition, the online preparer tax identification number PTIN system for tax professionals will also be shut down.”
Despite being closed, the IRS also reminded taxpayers about deadlines regarding taxes due, including those for taxpayers living abroad who have to file foreign financial account reports by June 30.
The furlough closures also change the responsibilities of business taxpayers looking to comply with tax information reporting requirements. Employment tax deposits must be made through the Treasury Department’s Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), which will operate as usual, even though the deadline falls on a furlough day.
The remaining scheduled furlough days are July 5, July 22 and August 30, but the IRS has said it may announce further furlough days if necessary.”
On this phone call FinCEN could not have ignored my instructions, because I left no instructions for FinCEN to follow. This was FinCEN’s concern.
I know of course how FinCEN was able to call me back, by reading the call display, but on this call I gave no instructions to call back on any number as I never left any message. FinCEN explained in its voice mail message that it called me back only because I listened to its recorded questions, but never proceeded to leave a message with any call back number.
FinCEN is the only organization I have ever encountered that calls back without any request to do so, just because you listened (only) to part of a recorded message on its helpline. (FinCEN is like emergency 911?) For me, this was a first.
FinCEN sounds very creepy.
@Marie, I agree– there is a creepy factor here.
The unrequested call back might relate to FinCEN’s concern that I was hesitating in my phone call to report a serious financial crime (e.g., I could have but chose not to “….press “1” if you wish to report Brocker failing to disclose capital gains at garage sale….”).
Anyway, given FinCEN’s outstanding customer service to me, I regret that I was not asked to participate in its customer survey and would have given this agency the thumbs up:
“Notice: During the month of May, customers of FinCEN’s Regulatory Helpline may be contacted by a third party to voluntarily participate in our annual customer satisfaction survey. If you have any questions regarding this survey, please contact the Regulatory Helpline [—and we will find you wherever you are and call you back right away.]”
What used to be a kinder, gentler Canadian version of FBAR is called T1135. Just like FBAR it can only be filed electronically next year. Just like FBAR it does not seem to be compatible with Macs. Has anyone figured out how to handle these electronic file critters on something other than latest model PC with who knows what specific applications installed? Does anyone know how a granny living in the boonies with no internet access (or experience) is supposed to do these compulsory filings?
Required reading from the IRS. Will it help US expats as their ‘private’ financial information is turned over to a ‘foreign’ entity by the countries we live in? http://www.irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection
I’ll just add to my Oct. 15th comment that after doing a reluctant update to Adobe Reader (now we get frequent annoying messages to do even more updates) we were able to download the electronic T1135 and at least take a look at the damn thing. It appears the CRA is trying to emulate IRS forms now and we are not amused. The only good thing about the new “improved” T1135 is that it doesn’t ask for account numbers … yet. Poor grannies and anyone else who do not have the access to or the inclination to use the internet.
This could be so simple, it’s not rocket science to create pdf forms to fill in. Apparently this still doesn’t work for Mac – wish I’d found this thread before I spent hours to get no help from BSA. There is no longer a paper alternative. And yes it is offensive to have to deal with “Financial Crimes Enforcement Network”.
This is why I hate the idea of e-filing anything — particularly FBARs (or FinCEN 114 if you prefer) and soon FATCA reports (wonder what name they’ll give these monsters). This new bug called Heartbleed has apparently shut down CRA until they get things fixed:
Here’s how to test a site for Heartbleed:
There is no security for sensitive financial data transfer — PERIOD! The CRA and IRS know that too.