Archive for the ‘BEA’ Category

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

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

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.

BEA-10 Due on June 30th

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Just a reminder this morning that the BEA-10 mandatory survey of foreign investment by Americans is due on June 30th. If you own 10% or more of a foreign entity, you will need to file this form. New filers must mail the forms in.

There are significant penalties if you don’t file this, so it’s definitely something to take care of (if it applies to you).

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

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

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….

Making IRS Customer Service Look Good

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

It’s hard to make the IRS’s customer service look good. If you get through–and it’s very difficult to reach the IRS, and you will usually be on hold for more than an hour before you do–there’s a good chance the information you receive will be wrong. Yet I have found another government agency that makes the IRS look superb.

Welcome to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. I’m trying to file an extension (which might be automatic, but the information on the website is inconclusive on that) for a client. Here’s the wonder of it all:

1. The website only worked without the “www.” That’s been fixed.
2. I attempted to efile the extension. That requires registration, and then approval by the BEA. But first-time filers can’t efile, so that didn’t work. Luckily, that extension (which I tried to file) doesn’t have to be filed: The BEA website now shows that the extension has been granted to June 30th for all new filers. (But I didn’t know that until late this weekend.)
3. Well, then I tried to fax the extension to the BEA. The BEA’s fax number rings busy…constantly.
4. I called the BEA, and got voice mail. A return phone call would be coming within 24 hours. No, it didn’t.
5. I’m now not even certain that the filing requirement exists for every business with foreign ownership. I’ve been told by someone else that he thinks only those contacted by the BEA have to file. Your guess is as good as mine on this.

In any case, I have lots of fax confirmation sheets showing I tried to fax the extension. And I have an understanding client who is as amused as I am with the BEA.

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

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

You’re looking at the headline and wondering what I’m drinking. There’s no May 29th tax deadline, right? Well, yes, that’s correct; however, there is a May 29th government filing deadline that will impact some business owners.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis surveys all US owners of foreign (non-US) entities every five years. Via Jack Townsend’s Federal Tax Crimes blog is the news that the BEA survey is due as soon as this Friday, May 29th! He links to a report from Joseph Perera and Farley P. Katz titled, “Alert: Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad (BE-10 Report) Due May 29, 2015. This begins,

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 2014 fiscal year, are required to file a BE-10 Report.

There are both civil and criminal penalties if you ignore this.

Humorously, when I tried to access the BEA web site for forms I got a “Server Not Found” error. The reason? The BEA website only works if you do not put “www.” before the bea.

Here is the correct link to the forms. Note that the links given in Jack Townsend’s article and the article by Perera and Katz may not work but if you remove the “www” (so that they begin “http://bea…”) they should work.

Even more humorous, when the BEA emailed me the verification link to confirm my efiling, they included “www” in their link. I had to remove that to get the verification link to work.