Note: This article was originally published on October 5, 2021, and was updated on November 1, 2021.
In a case of certainly too little and almost too late, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) announced on October 5, 2021, that victims of Hurricane Ida in certain counties in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania (and Louisiana) have until December 31, 2021 to file their 2020 Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBARs”).
The relief, to the extent it is available, apparently is only for individuals and households who reside or have a business in the affected counties. Others having FBAR filing requirements, such as partnerships and corporations, for example, presumably are not eligible for the extended FBAR deadline.
FinCEN says the counties eligible for relief are those that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) has designated for individual assistance. In certain instances, these counties do not necessarily match up with the counties that are eligible for relief from Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) filing requirements. In other instances, a county is not explicitly cited in the FinCEN notice, but FEMA has designated it for individual assistance relief, so victims in that county would seem to be eligible for FBAR relief. For example:
- In New York State: the FinCEN notice explicitly cites Bronx, Kings, Queens, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties as eligible for FBAR relief, but Rockland county should have been cited because FEMA has designated Rockland county as eligible for individual assistance. FEMA subsequently designated Dutchess county eligible for individual assistance, so FBAR relief should be available for victims in that county. Victims in New York (Manhattan) county, as well as victims in Sullivan, Ulster, Orange and Putnam counties are not eligible for FBAR relief because FEMA hasn’t designated them as eligible for individual assistance (just public assistance). All 14 of these counties, however, are eligible for IRS relief.
- In New Jersey: all 12 counties eligible for IRS relief are eligible for FBAR relief.
- In Pennsylvania: the FinCEN notice explicitly cites Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York counties as eligible for FBAR relief, but Bedford and Northampton counties should be eligible for FBAR relief as well because FEMA has designated them eligible for individual assistance. Victims in Fulton, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Schuylkill, and Dauphin county, while eligible for IRS relief, are not eligible for FBAR relief because FEMA hasn’t designated them as eligible for individual assistance (just public assistance).
If there’s any uncertainty, assume FBAR relief is available within the counties eligible for FEMA individual assistance, even if they’re not explicitly cited in the FinCEN notice (e.g., Rockland, but not Manhattan). The notice, however, says:
FinCEN will work with any FBAR filer who lives outside the disaster areas but who must consult records located in the affected areas in order to meet the deadline. FBAR filers who live outside the affected areas seeking assistance in meeting their filing obligations (including workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization), should contact the FinCEN Regulatory Support Section at 800-767-2825 or electronically at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This would seem to cover Manhattanites whose FBAR records are in, say, Nassau or Suffolk counties.
Your Friedman LLP advisor stands ready to help you determine if you are eligible and how to best take advantage of this relief. Contact us now with any questions.