With the new year comes the desire to set resolutions and work to make last year better than the last. Curiously, few people consider their tax obligations as part of their resolution. Perhaps it is the desire to only look forward or perhaps it is simply the nature of taxes that causes people to fail to make this consideration. While what was done in the past cannot be changed, one should strive to achieve or maintain their compliance with the U.S. Tax Code in 2016. And if you have participated in behavior that you now regret or have grown concerned about, speaking with an experienced tax lawyer who can advise you on how to come back into compliance with the tax code should be at the top of your to-do list. The IRS typically provides more favorable treatment to taxpayers who make a legally sufficient voluntary disclosure.
However, one interesting quirk with the 2016 tax filing season is that taxpayers actually have more time to file taxes this year. So make the most of that time and if you are considering filing for the first time, correcting one or more years of non-compliance, or maintaining your compliance with the tax code as you always have work with an experienced tax professional or California tax attorney. Robert Hoffman of the Hoffman Law Offices can provide trusted guidance for an array of tax issues.
Federal Holidays Will Delay the 2016 Season’s Filing Deadline
This year’s federal tax filing season begins on January 19, 2016. In most years the tax filing deadline for domestic filers falls on April, 15. One exception to this rule is when the 15th of the month falls on a weekend. Another exception to this general rule occurs when April 15th falls on a federal or state holiday. This year, the usual April 15 tax filing deadline falls on a holiday known as Emancipation Day marking the signing of the 1863 Compensated Emancipation Act. The holiday is recognized in Washington D.C. and while it actually falls on Saturday the 16th, the holiday is being observed on the 15th. Thus, individuals in most states have until Monday, April 18th, 2016 to file their 2015 tax return.
However, individuals in a few lucky states actually have until Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 to file their taxes. In certain states located in New England, Maine and Massachusetts, April 18th is a state holiday known as Patriot’s Day thus explaining the extra day to file. To recap, the 2016 filing deadlines to submit one’s federal tax return is:
- Most states including California: Monday, April 18, 2016.
- Maine & Massachusetts: Tuesday, April 19, 2016
For individuals who file for an automatic extension, their tax filing is due by October 17, 2016.
Filing Deadlines for International Tax Filers And Individuals With Foreign Accounts
Individuals who live abroad receive an extension of two months from the original tax filing date. That means for individuals living outside of the United States, their filing deadline falls on June 15, 2016. However, expatriates and others living abroad can also request an additional two month extension that would push the filing deadline to August 15, 2015.
Individuals, whether living within the U.S. or abroad, who hold or have signature authority over certain foreign accounts and assets may be required to disclose the existence of these accounts to satisfy an FBAR obligation, a FATCA obligation, or both. FATCA is filed on Form 8938 and should be filed along with the individual’s tax return. Typically this means that Form 8938 will be filed along with IRS Form 1040.
In years past, the FBAR reporting obligation satisfied via filing FinCEN Form 114 was satisfied with a filing by June 30th. However, the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 has moved this year’s and future filing dates. However, these changes will not take effect until next year. The future filing dates are:
- 2015 FBAR: June 30, 2016
- 2016 FBAR: April 15, 2017
Thus, this year the FBAR filing deadline remains the same. However, individuals with an obligation to file should keep it in the back of their mind that they will have less time to satisfy this obligation next year. One positive aspect of the new deadline taking effect in the 2017 filing season is that a six month filing extension will be available. However, the current deadline for the filing season remains June 30th and no extension is available.
Rely on an Experienced Tax Attorney
Ensuring that 2016 is a year where you do better or at least maintain your tax compliance starts with correcting past non-compliance while also satisfying this year’s upcoming filing obligations. To discuss how you can catch-up on missed filings and achieve tax and offshore disclosure compliance call Los Angeles tax attorney Robert Hoffman at 800-897-3915 or contact the firm online.