You Heard About that May 29th Filing Deadline, Right?

So let’s look at important tax deadlines this year. There’s January 31st (the deadline to mail and file many 1099s and to distribute and file W-2s), March 15th (the deadline to file S-Corporation and partnership tax returns, and Forms 3520-A), April 15th (the deadline to file personal, C-Corporation, trust/estate/fiduciary returns, and FBARs), and May 29th, of course.

What? There’s no tax deadline on Friday, May 29th. That’s technically true, but there is a filing deadline on May 29th : the Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad (BE-10).

The BE-10 is due every five years, and five years ago it was quite a surprise to the tax professional community. Adding to the fun last time was that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (the government agency where the Survey is filed) was completely unprepared for the volume of reports. There were major issues with filing, and let’s just say that the experience was not good for everyone who had to deal with this.

So who must file?

All U.S. persons that owned, directly or indirectly, 10% or more of the voting stock of a foreign corporation, or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated foreign business enterprise (e.g. a partnership), at any time during the 2019 fiscal year, are required to file a BE-10 Report.

I’m giving an early heads-up on this, as I suspect few are aware of this required report. There are both possible civil and criminal penalties. If you’re a tax professional and have any clients who are owners of foreign entities, make sure they’re aware of this filing. The BEA webpage on the BE-10 isn’t fully ready (for example, the link to getting on their mailing list for updates is not working), but any tax professional who deals with this should bookmark this page and discuss this with your clients. And if you happen to be the owner of a foreign entity, make sure you’re aware of the May 29th deadline.

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