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Department of Commerce will survey U.S. investments abroad this spring

February 24, 2020 Article 3 min read
Randall Janiczek
Businesses and individuals with qualifying investments outside the United States are required to participate in this benchmark survey conducted every five years. Here’s what you need to know about the study.
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This spring, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is conducting the 2019 Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad (BE-10), which replaces the annual BE-11 reporting requirement for the 2019 fiscal year. This survey, conducted every five years, will collect information to help analysts and researchers study the impact of direct investment on employment, wages, productivity, and tax revenues. It’ll also help American businesses make informed decisions about hiring, growth, and investment.

Participation requirements

A BE-10 survey is required for any U.S. person — which includes businesses, individuals, estates, trusts, and other entities that are resident in the United States or subject to the jurisdiction — that had the following at the end of the 2019 fiscal year:

  • Direct or indirect ownership or control of at least 10% of the voting stock of an incorporated foreign business enterprise
  • An equivalent interest in an unincorporated foreign business enterprise
  • A 10% or more interest in foreign real estate held for other than personal use (This includes foreign rental real estate like an Airbnb property.)

The BE-10 survey comprises five forms (BE-10A – D or an exemption form) that may be used to meet the reporting requirement based on the individual characteristics of the reporting person or entity. The form (or combination of forms) depends on the level of assets, sales, or net income.

In all cases, a BE-10 is required regardless of asset value or income amount. Those who meet the participation requirements but fail to report may be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $2,500, and not more than $25,000, and to injunctive relief commanding such person to comply, or both.

Special exemptions for survey participation are possible for a U.S. person who:

  • Is a citizen of a foreign country and is residing in the United States as a result of official employment by a foreign government (including the immediate family of the person).
  • Has been, or expects to be, residing in the United States for less than one year.
  • Is fully consolidated in the report of another U.S. person.

Notification process

The BEA will begin notifying parties who have a reporting requirement for the BE-10 survey by mail beginning in mid-February. It will also publish the respective forms and begin accepting completed surveys during the same time period.

If you receive a notice to file the BE-10 survey but you or your business do not meet the filing requirements, you must submit a “BE-10 Claim for Not Filing.” If you don’t receive a notice from the BEA about the survey but you do meet the filing requirements, you’re still required to file the form. A filing requirement exists for U.S. persons who meet the reporting criteria, whether the BEA notifies them or not.

Due dates

A U.S. reporter required to file fewer than 50 Forms BE-10A, BE-10B, BE-10C, and/or BE-10D must file with BEA no later than May 29, 2020. A U.S. reporter required to file 50 or more Forms BE-10A, BE-10B, BE-10C, and/or BE-10D must file with BEA no later than June 30, 2020. Surveys can be filed electronically, faxed to (301) 278-9502, or mailed to:

Bureau of Economic Analysis

Balance of Payments Division, BE-50 (SSB)

4600 Silver Hill Road

Suitland, MD 20746


A written request for an extension will normally be granted if the BEA Request for Extension form is submitted before the due date. Requests may also be submitted through the BEA e-file system, emailed to the BEA at be10/, or faxed to (301) 278-9502. The BEA will provide a written response to requests prior to the reporting deadline.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly.

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