At this time last year, we issued alerts (see here and here) advising U.S. companies of the approach of a recently imposed deadline to file reports with the Bureau of Economic Analysis (“BEA”), a little known agency within the Department of Commerce, disclosing these companies’ foreign direct investments. As a result of the short notice from BEA, many companies were frantically trying to determine where all of the relevant information was for completion of the Form BE-10 Benchmark Survey of US Direct Investment Abroad.  This survey must be completed every 5 years by parties that satisfy the criteria set forth in the regulations.  BEA also requires annual and even quarterly reports from some companies.

So you may be wondering: “which form do I need to complete this year for the BEA?”  The answer is, possibly, none.  But it will depend on (a) whether you are involved in any new foreign direct investment in the United States (yes, even as the US party that receives the investment), or (b) whether you are contacted by BEA to complete one of the annual or quarterly surveys for either US direct investment abroad or foreign direct investment in the United States.  For your information, here is a summary of the various filing requirements with the BEA: 

US Direct Investment Abroad

BE-10 Benchmark Survey of US Direct Investment Abroad:  Mandatory every 5 years for all parties that meet the criteria (next due in 2020 for FY2019). Specifically, reporting will be required if the U.S. company had a 10 percent or more interest in a foreign business enterprise during FY 2019.

BE-11 Annual Survey of US Direct Investment Abroad:  Mandatory if contacted by BEA.

BE-577 Quarterly Survey of US Direct Investment Abroad:  Mandatory if contacted by BEA.

Foreign Direct Investment in the US

BE-12 Benchmark Survey of Foreign Direct Investment in the United States:  Mandatory every 5 years for all parties that meet the criteria (next due in 2018 for FY2017).

BE-13 Survey of New Foreign Direct Investment in the United States:  Mandatory by US business enterprise within 45 days of the following occurring: (1) a foreign direct investment in the United States relationship is created or (2) an existing US affiliate of a foreign parent establishes a new US legal entity, expands its US operations, or acquires a US business enterprise. Foreign direct investment is defined as the ownership or control, directly or indirectly, by one foreign person of 10 percent or more of the voting securities of an incorporated US business enterprise, or an equivalent interest of an unincorporated US business enterprise, including a branch.

BE-15 Annual Survey of Foreign Direct Investment in the United States:  Mandatory if contacted by BEA.

BE-605 Quarterly Survey of Foreign Direct Investment in the United States:  Mandatory if contacted by BEA.

Even if you do not have to file one of these reports every year, be sure to pay attention when a filing is due.  Because when the obligation attaches, it is mandatory and BEA is eager to get the statistical data.