February 6, 2017 - Phil Hodgen

Filing Deadlines for FBARs and Income Tax Returns

We finally have sane filing deadlines for income tax returns and FBARs (FinCen Form 114). But there is still a trap for the unwary.

Income Tax Return Deadline for Tax Returns: April 15

Humans file income tax returns by April 15 .1

Income Tax Return Extended Filing Deadlines

Humans can get extensions of time to file their income tax returns:

  • June 15. This is an automatic extension, no paperwork required. It is available for American citizens or green card holders whose tax homes are outside the United States.2
  • October 15. This deadline is yours if you ask for it. Use Form 4868.
  • December 15. This deadline is available for American citizens or green card holders whose tax homes are abroad. This extended deadline is yours if you send the IRS a nice letter.3
  • Whenever. Sometimes you need time to qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion. You can ask for (and receive) a filing deadline way off in the future. Use Form 2350.

FBAR Filing Deadline: April 15

The old filing deadlines for FBARs confused everyone: June 30, no extensions possible. There is nothing like this in the normal income tax return filing procedures.4

Now the rules have changed: the filing deadline is April 15.

This new rule applies starting now. So you should be filing your 2016 FBAR by April 15, 2017.

FBAR Extended Filing Deadline

If you miss the April 15 deadline, you automatically have until October 15 to file your FBAR. You do not need to file a form to get the extension.

The Potential for “Gotcha”

The potential for “gotcha” exists for two sets of people:

  • Those who get the December 15 extended filing deadline for their income tax returns, and
  • Those who file Form 2350 and get a much larger extension of time to file their income tax returns.

These two extensions do not give you more time to file your FBAR.

In summary (because I love tables):

2016 Tax Return Filing Deadline File 2016 Tax Return By File 2016 FBAR By
Normal Deadline April 15, 2017 April 15, 2017
Automatic Extension June 15, 2017 October 15, 2017
Use Form 4868 October 15, 2017 October 15, 2017
Send a letter December 15, 2017 October 15, 2017
Use Form 2350 Whatever you put on Line 1 October 15, 2017

  1. IRC § 6072(a). 
  2. Reg. § 1.6081-5(a)(5). 
  3. Reg. § 1.6081-1(b); see also Publication 54, page 4. 
  4. “FBAR” refers to FinCen Form 114. American taxpayers use it to tell the IRS about foreign financial accounts they own or control. 



Americans Living Abroad Random