International tax practitioners frequently field requests for assistance with what can best be described as tax-adjacent informational reporting matters. While international tax practitioners are not experts in the substantive law or regulations from which these nontax reporting obligations arise, information collected in the fulfillment of international tax reporting frequently overlaps much, if not all, of the information required by these obligations. Perhaps the most well known of these reporting requirements is Form FinCEN 114, commonly known as the Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR), which reports information concerning the interests of U.S. persons in foreign financial accounts to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. A similar but much less well-known reporting requirement is Form BE-10, “Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad,” issued by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).
What is Form BE-10?
Form BE-10 collects information necessary for the BEA to complete its survey, which is conducted every five years. The BEA defines direct investment abroad as “the ownership or control, directly or indirectly, by one U.S. person of 10 percent or more of the voting securities of an incorporated foreign business enterprise or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated foreign business enterprise” (including a branch or real estate held for other than personal use). The form is a series of questions directed at the financial and operating characteristics of, and on positions and transactions between, U.S. parent companies and their foreign affiliates in 2019. Form BE-10 is a series of forms including Form BE-10A, which covers the U.S. reporter, and Forms BE-10B, BE-10C, and BE-10D for each of the U.S. reporter’s foreign affiliates that meets certain thresholds. Most U.S. reporters will be allowed to file an abbreviated Form BE-10A, but if the U.S. reporter’s assets, sales, or gross operating revenues (excluding sales taxes) or net income for 2019 was greater than $300 million, a much more comprehensive form must be filed.