The U.S. Department of Commerce, through the Bureau of Economic Analysis (the “BEA”), conducts a baseline survey of U.S. direct investments abroad every five years (more targeted surveys are conducted annually) and reports from U.S. persons are due again in a few weeks. There can be serious consequences for those who fail to report by the filing deadline.

Responses Required

Responses to Form BE-10 are mandatory whether or not the BEA sent notice to the U.S. person of the reporting requirement. Form BE-10 reports are due on May 29, 2015 for those U.S. persons filing fewer than 50 foreign affiliates, and June 30, 2015 for those U.S. persons filing 50 or more foreign affiliates.  Failure to file may result in civil and criminal penalties of $2,500 to $25,000. A willful failure may result in a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to one year or both.  Moreover, officers, directors, employees or agents of a corporation who knowingly participate in these violations are subject to similar fines and imprisonment.

Who Must Report

A Form BE-10 report is required of any U.S. person that had a foreign affiliate–that is, that had direct or indirect ownership or control of at least 10 percent of the voting stock of an incorporated foreign business enterprise, or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated foreign business enterprise, including a branch, at any time during the U.S. person’s 2014 fiscal year. The BEA defines U.S. person to include any individual, branch, partnership, associated group, association, estate, trust, corporation, or other organization resident in or subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Where to Find More Information

The Form BE-10 and related reports are available online at www.bea.gov/surveys. The site also has answers to frequently asked questions, a video overview, and links to two one-hour webinars scheduled for May 12 and 14.