Individuals vs CPA, Attorney and Paid Tax Preparers
Who is considered an individual filer?
An individual filer is a natural person who owns a reportable foreign financial account or has signature authority but no financial interest in a reportable foreign financial account that requires the filing of an FBAR for the reportable year. An individual who jointly owns an account with a spouse may file a single FBAR report as an individual filer. See FAQ 2. An individual can use the No Registration FBAR page (http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/NoRegFBARFiler.html ) on the BSA E-Filing System to file their FBAR. Please review the How To E-File document before starting your electronic submission. (http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/docs/FBAR_EFILING.pdf )
Can an attorney, CPA, or an enrolled agent submit an FBAR via the BSA E-Filing System on behalf of a client?
Yes. An attorney, CPA, or an enrolled agent always may assist its clients in the preparation of electronic BSA forms for BSA E-Filing, including the FBAR. Consistent with FinCEN's instructions that provide for approved third-party filing of the FBAR, if an attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent has been provided documented authority (Form 114a) by the legally obligated filers (clients) to sign and submit FBARs on their behalf through the BSA E-Filing System, that attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent can do so through a single BSA E-Filing account established on the BSA E-Filing System for the attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent. The client should complete Form 114a (https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/FBARE-FileAuth114aRecordSP.pdf) designating the attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent as the filer/preparer of the client’s FBAR. The form should not be sent to FinCEN. A copy of the Form 114a should be retained by the attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent. Attorneys, CPAs, or enrolled agents can establish their institution accounts by accessing the BSA E-Filing System enrollment page (http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/Enroll.html ), selecting the Institution option, and following the steps to enroll. If the client does not complete Form 114a such authority is not provided, the filings must be signed and submitted by the client. A client signing and submitting his or her own FBAR may use the BSA E-Filing System by accessing the No Registration FBAR page (http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/NoRegFBARFiler.html ).
Can an attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent submit an FBAR on behalf of a client using the Individual filer option on the BSA E-Filing System?
No. An attorney, CPA, or enrolled agent filing an FBAR on behalf of a client may not use the Individual filer option on the BSA E-Filing System. Instead, such an attorney, CPA or enrolled agent must register with the BSA E-Filing System in order to file the FBAR electronically. A non-individual FBAR filer, such as an attorney, CPA, or an enrolled agent filing the FBAR on behalf of a client must register to “Become a BSA E-Filer” (http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/Enroll.html ) and select the Institution option rather than the Individual option. Once enrolled as an Institution, a Supervisory User is assigned. The Supervisory User has the ability to create additional General User system accounts, if necessary. These General User accounts uniquely identify the members of the organization that will be filing the FBARs electronically. This feature also allows a CPA firm, for example, to monitor the filing activity for their entire organization using the Track Status feature within the BSA E-Filing System. If you are the sole person in your organization who will be filing the FBARs electronically, there is no need to create additional General User accounts. The organization will also be able to monitor its filing activity using the Track Status feature within the BSA E-Filing System.