Last month, we alerted U.S. companies with foreign subsidiaries and branches to the impending deadline for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis ("BEA") Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad, also known as the "BE-10" survey. A copy of that Alertwith details of the survey and filing requirements may be found here. Originally, the deadline for filers required to submit fewer than 50 forms was May 29, 2015. The BEA announced that it would consider requests for extension submitted by reporting entities and posted a pro forma request on its BE-10 resources website. However, in the past few days, the BEA—without public announcement or publication in the Federal Register—has extended the deadline for all new filers of U.S. direct investment abroad surveys to June 30, 2015.
For the purposes of the automatic extension, a "new filer" is any U.S. entity or individual required to file the BE-10 benchmark survey that has never filed any BEA survey of U.S. direct investment abroad, including the BE-10, BE-11, and BE-577 surveys. Note: Unlike the BE-10 benchmark survey, the BE-11 (annual) and BE-577 (quarterly) surveys are designed to collect statistically relevant samples and need only be submitted by filers if contacted by the BEA.
So, smaller entities that have never submitted a BE-10, BE-11, or BE-577 now have until June 30, 2015, to file responses, just like those with the more complex filings. However, with the BEA's estimated reporting burden of 144 hours per response—which likely underestimates the burden for complex corporate structures—companies that are required to report would be well served to start early. We believe that by granting the automatic extension, the BEA will look less favorably on requests for additional extension at the end of June.
Although we are unaware of any prior imposition of civil penalties for unintentionally failing to timely submit required information to the BEA, the extension may also signal that the BEA is focused on receiving timely and complete responses from those required to submit the BE-10. Civil penalties include a fine of not less than $2,500 and not more than $32,500 (and injunctive relief commanding a filing). A person willfully failing to file can be fined up to $10,000 and/or imprisoned for up to one year.