This year marks the return of the BE-10, the five-year benchmark survey of US direct investment abroad—as a result, US companies that have an ownership or voting interest of 10% or more in a foreign business enterprise may be required to file a BE-10 report with the US Department of Commerce.

US businesses that have an ownership or voting interest of 10% or more in a foreign business enterprise in the fiscal year ending in 2014 may be required to file a BE-10 report with the US Department of Commerce, regardless of whether such businesses previously filed such a report.

What Is the BE-10?

The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) prepares official US economic statistics on investment in and by US companies based on data that it collects through mandatory surveys. This year marks the return of the BE-10, the five-year benchmark survey of US direct investment abroad and BEA's most comprehensive survey of such investment in terms of subject matter. US businesses, many of which were not previously subject to BEA’s reporting requirements, must now report on their foreign affiliates by filing a completed BE-10 report by either May 29 or June 30 (depending on the number of foreign affiliates they have).

Who Must Report?

A US company must file the BE-10 if, at any point during the company’s fiscal year ending in 2014, it had direct or indirect ownership or control of at least 10% of the voting stock of an incorporated foreign business enterprise or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated foreign business enterprise. Pursuant to the November 2014 Federal Register notice that reinstated the BE-10 reporting obligation, the BE-10 is mandatory for US companies that meet the investment threshold, notwithstanding whether the business was contacted in writing by BEA. The obligation to file a BE-10 thus may include many US companies that were not previously subject to BEA’s annual or quarterly surveys, which are not required unless BEA specifically informs a US business in writing of its reporting obligation.

Which Form(s) Should a Business File?

The complete BE-10 comprises multiple reports that cover the US business enterprise and its majority- and minority-owned affiliates, as follows:

  • A US parent must file Form BE-10A if its total assets, sales, or gross operating revenues (excluding sales taxes) or net income (after provision for income taxes), when consolidated with its majority-owned domestic subsidiaries, was greater than $300 million (positive or negative) at any time during the 2014 fiscal year.
  • A Form BE-10B must be submitted for each majority-owned foreign affiliate of a US company whose total assets, sales, or gross operating revenues (excluding sales taxes) or net income (after foreign income taxes) was greater than $80 million at any time during the affiliate’s 2014 fiscal year.
  • A Form BE-10C is required for (1) each majority-owned foreign affiliate that had total assets, sales, or gross operating revenues (excluding sales taxes) or net income (after foreign income taxes) greater than $25 million (positive or negative) but less than $80 million (positive or negative) at any time during the affiliate’s 2014 fiscal year; (2) each minority-owned foreign affiliate that had total assets, sales, or gross operating revenues (excluding sales taxes) or net income (after foreign income taxes) that was greater than $25 million (positive or negative) at any time during the affiliate’s 2014 fiscal year; and (3) each foreign affiliate that had neither total assets, nor sales or gross operating revenues, nor net income that was greater than $25 million (positive or negative) at any time during the affiliate’s 2014 fiscal year and that is a parent of another foreign affiliate being filed on Forms BE-10B or BE-10C.
  • A Form BE-10D is required for all foreign affiliates that had neither total assets, nor sales or gross operating revenues, nor net income that was greater than $25 million (positive or negative) at any time during the affiliate’s 2014 fiscal year and that is not a parent of another foreign affiliate being filed on Forms BE-10B or BE-10C.

The different BE-10 forms and instructions for their completion are available on the BEA website.

Filing Deadline and Extension Requests

US businesses with fewer than 50 foreign affiliates must file a fully completed BE-10 no later than May 29. The deadline is extended to June 30 for US businesses with more than 50 foreign affiliates. Because the BE-10 report requires companies to collect a large amount of data, they should begin preparing their BE-10 survey responses well in advance of these deadlines. If a company has only recently discovered that it is subject to BE-10 reporting requirements and it can’t meet the upcoming deadlines, it shouldn’t panic; we have found that the BEA will generally grant reasonable requests for filing extensions if it receives such requests prior to the original deadline.