The BEA Responds, or Making IRS Customer Service Look Normal (Bad)

On Sunday I penned the post, “Making IRS Customer Service Look Good.” I now need to take that back. Why? I was greeted at 7am this morning by a phone call from an analyst from the Bureau of Economic Affairs.

He apologized for the issues that I had last week and confirmed:

1. The survey is required for all owners of 10% (or more) of foreign entities and US-owned foreign entities. This report is done every five years and is mandatory.

2. The BEA was stunned with the volume on inquiries last week on this survey. (I don’t think the BEA should have been surprised, but that’s another thing.) There phone system literally couldn’t handle the volume so in the best traditions of technology, it hung up on a lot of people. The extension, which normally must be sent in (similar to an extension for federal tax filing, Form 4868, where it’s automatic as long as you send in the paper/electronically file it) was made automatic because the BEA realized that they couldn’t handle the volume of extension requests.

3. Thus, most filers of the BEA-10 (“Survey of US Direct Investment Abroad”) have until June 30th to file.

Kudos to the BEA in reaching out and answering my questions. I do give the BEA a demerit for not appropriately publicizing this requirement. I would imagine there are numerous owners of foreign entities that are required to file the BEA-10 who still have no idea of the requirement. That said, I’m not sure how the BEA should publicize this; perhaps a notice sent to the American Bar Association?

Contrast the BEA being proactive with my call to the IRS Practitioner Priority Service yesterday. One of my clients closed his corporation in 2013 (filing a final return, closing it with the Corporation Commission in his state, etc.) and has moved so we needed to change the address with the IRS. (Yes, it’s a good idea to change the address for contact purposes as the IRS could audit the corporation’s returns.) I have a Power of Attorney for this corporation through the 2013 tax year, and the woman I spoke with questioned my ability to give a change-of-address for 2015 stating I would need a POA covering 2015. I noted to the IRS representative that there is no 2015 (or 2014) for this corporation; it would be the same thing as obtaining a POA for a deceased individual for the year after he died–impossible. In the end, I gave the representative the new address even after she told me she couldn’t confirm the IRS would do anything with it because I don’t have a POA covering 2015. Sigh….

One Response to “The BEA Responds, or Making IRS Customer Service Look Normal (Bad)”

  1. […] Fox,┬áThe BEA Responds, or Making IRS Customer Service Look Normal (Bad). Russ reports that BEA has extended the deadline for its mandatory “survey” of foreign […]