In this article, we’re looking at the BSA e-filing system and how US persons use it to meet reporting requirements.
If you are a US person and you’d like to explore your international banking requirements, you can access our many free resources on the topic.
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- BSA E-Filing
- How to Electronically File Bank Secrecy Act Forms
- Who Is Exempt From Filing Bank Secrecy Act Forms?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Ready to Explore Your Options?
BSA E-Filing System
The BSA e-filing system allows US persons to electronically submit FinCEN Form 114 to comply with their FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) reporting requirements. This applies to US citizens, residents, corporations, partnerships, LLCs, and estate planning entities.
FBAR filing through the BSA e-filing system is completed in one sitting. In other words, you cannot save your progress and you need to have all of the relevant information available in order to complete the filing once you start.
Additionally, people often get confused about when they need to submit an FBAR via the BSA e-filing system. Importantly, you need to file an FBAR if at any point in time during the calendar year, the total of all applicable accounts outside of the US reached USD 10,000 in value, you have to file an FBAR.
To avoid any doubt, the USD 10,000 threshold is the combined value of all your accounts, not the value per account. So, if you are a US person and you have 10 foreign accounts with USD 1,000 deposited in each, you will need to file an FBAR via the BSA e-filing system.
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How to Electronically File Bank Secrecy Act Forms
To electronically file Bank Secrecy Act forms (BSA forms), you will navigate to the BSA E-Filing website and select the specific form that you want to file. In the case of filing FBAR online, you will then select whether you want to submit via PDF or online.
That said, if you are a CPA, attorney, or agent planning to file an FBAR on behalf of a client, you first need to register as a BSA e-filer, which can also be done online.
Who Is Exempt From Filing Bank Secrecy Act Forms?
Now, you might be wondering who is exempt from filing bank secrecy act forms, in the hopes that you won’t need to file another form with the government. From a banking perspective, we’re talking about FBAR. So, let’s look at the entire list of exempt persons, it’s not long.
- US persons with no applicable financial accounts outside of the USA
- US persons with applicable financial accounts outside of the USA that did not at any time during the calendar year reach USD 10,000 in total value
So, in other words, if you have financial accounts outside of the USA and the total value of those accounts reached a combined value of USD 10,000 or more at any time during the year, you have to complete the BSA e-filing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are three of the most common questions that we receive from people looking into BSA E-Filing requirements. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.
Do I Need to File FinCEN Form 114 Every Year?
You need to file FinCEN Form 114 every year in which you have foreign financial accounts that reached a total combined value of USD 10,000 at any point during the year. However, if you do not have foreign financial accounts that meet these criteria, you do not need to file FinCEN Form 114. Of course, if you have concerns about whether or not you meet this requirement, you should contact a professional tax advisor to help you understand your requirements.
Can I File My FBAR Online?
Yes, you can file your FBAR online through the BSA e-filing system. To do so, you just need to navigate to the BSA website and follow the step-by-step instructions for completing the online submission.
How Do I Become a BSA E-Filer?
Similar to filing BSA forms online, individuals looking to become a BSA e-filer can complete the necessary steps through the BSA e-filing website. This is normally a process that is completed by CPAs, attorneys, or agents looking to file BSA forms (e.g. the FBAR) on behalf of their clients.
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