Every five years, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) conducts the Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad (Form BE-10) to secure current economic data on the operations of U.S. parent companies and their foreign affiliates. 2020 is a benchmark survey year, and the survey will cover fiscal years ending in 2019 in place of the annual survey (Form BE-11). The BE-11 annual survey is conducted during the four years between benchmark surveys. Smaller businesses that are not required to file annual surveys are required to participate in benchmark surveys, for which there are no size exemption thresholds. Larger businesses that file the BE-11 survey annually will instead fill out Form BE-10 in a benchmark year. The BEA filing is required under the U.S. Department of Commerce rules and is not a tax return filing required by the IRS.
All U.S. “persons,” including individuals, estates, trusts, nonprofit organizations and active and inactive business entities such as corporations, partnerships, etc., with at least 10 percent direct or indirect ownership or voting power in a foreign business enterprise (including real estate in foreign countries unless considered held for personal use) must file Form BE-10A and one or more (depending on the number and size of affiliates) Forms BE-10B, BE-10C or BE-10D. In assessing the 10 percent control threshold, limited partnership interests generally are not included, and a general partner is presumed to have a 100 percent voting interest of a limited partnership. If the filer is a corporation, reports must cover the fully consolidated amounts that exclude foreign branches and all other foreign affiliates. The forms are to be filed by U.S. “persons” even if they were not contacted by the BEA. Entities issuing annual shareholder reports should furnish copies of these reports for fiscal year 2019 when filing the BE-10 report.
The survey is due on May 29, 2020, for a U.S. reporter with fewer than 50 foreign affiliates and on June 30, 2020, for entities with 50 or more affiliates. There has not been an automatic extension granted for 2019 BE-10 respondents due to COVID-19, but you can request an extension using the BEA eFile system. The BEA is flexible with granting extensions and you can choose a June 30, July 31 or August 31 extension date no matter how many affiliates you are required to report. Per the BEA’s website, the 2020 survey responses are particularly needed to ensure accurate measurement of the U.S. economy during the COVID-19 outbreak. Estimates are allowed if final information is not available at the time of filing. The survey is to be submitted online by using the BEA’s secure eFile system or by fax at 301.278.9502. A person who fails to file a required Form BE-10 may be subject to civil penalties not exceeding $10,000 and to criminal penalties if found to have willfully failed to file a required Form BE-10. An officer, director, employee or agent of an entity who knowingly participates in a willful failure to file also may be subject to criminal penalties.
If you were notified by the BEA to file a BE-10 survey but your business does not meet the filing requirements or no longer exists, the BE-10 Claim for Not Filing must be submitted. If you were not notified by the BEA to file a BE-10 survey and you do not meet BE-10 filing requirements or the entity no longer exists, no action is required.
Please see the summary of forms to be filed and requirements below and review the BEA’s Guidance for Smaller Real Estate Holdings.
Summary of Forms to Be Filed
As with most topics related to COVID-19, changes are being made rapidly. Please note that this information is current as of the date of publication. For more information, reach out to your BKD Trusted Advisor™ or use the Contact Us form below.