FILING A JOINT FBAR IN LACERTE (2017 SOFTWARE AND AFTERWARDS)

I do not know how Lacerte really generates the efiling for jointly held accounts for FBAR filers, but the US Treasury and BSA want SEPARATE FinCen 114 forms with the joint accounts mentioned on EACH FinCen 114 for the taxpayer and spouse.

Lacerte has makes you put a -1 in the joint filer section of the screen 82.1, foreign bank account section for EACH jointly held account with the taxpayer, such that the spouse's information auto fills in on the taxpayer's main FinCen 114. 

That's fine, HOWEVER, there is NO 2nd Spousal FBAR with those same joint accounts mentioned in the same tax file, UNLESS you DUPLICATE those VERY SAME Joint accounts, and then manually FILL in the taxpayer's info as the joint owner of those accounts with the spouse.    You MUST click the "Spouse" Checkbox in the screen 82.1 at the top of EACH of those jointly held duplicated listed accounts, else, the Spousal FinCen 114 will NOT generate.

Lacerte may be making an interpretation that a Spousal FBAR (FinCen 114) may  not be required if the Spouse is already mentioned as a co-owner on the taxpayer's FinCen 114, However, I do NOT agree with that.  Lacerte has not completed the PROPER programming for this and they do NOT allow a second FinCen 114 for the Spouse unless the spouse either has separately owned accounts of his/her own which exceed the $10,000 limit, OR unless you split the file and generate a FinCen 114 JUST for the spouse.

I feel SPLITTING the accounts is HIGHLY unnecessary, and thus a simple duplication of the jointly held accounts as mentioned above, with the spousal checkbox 'checked' and the taxpayer's info manually mentioned in those duplicated listed joint accounts, DOES do the trick if those jointly held accounts collective balances exceed $10,000.

For taxpayers and spouses who do not have more than a few jointly held accounts, duplicating them in the asset screen for the FBARs (FinCen 114) forms is not a big deal, even though it is annoying, but when they have MULTIPLE accounts, below the 25 threshold for which FinCen 114 forms are required, it can get extremely TIME CONSUMING to REMENTION the jointly held accounts on the Spouse's FinCen 114a.

Even though Lacerte's interpretation of the spousal FBAR for joint accounts is such that it may not be needed, they SHOULD make it available for tax preparers to be able to PHYSICALLY FORCE a spousal FBAR with joint accounts without having to DUPLICATE the joint accounts and marking it as owned by the spouse and the cofiler being the taxpayer, as mentioned above.

This is NOT a question, but rather a comment. I await Lacerte's comment on this regard. 

For now, I have done the EXACT above for my desire to HAVE a Spousal FinCen 114 (with the spouse's social on it). 

Thank you and happy tax season!

-Milan

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