U.S. companies that formed in 2017 or earlier and have foreign ownership of at least 10 percent as of the end of 2017 must file reports with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) by June 30.
Because the paper-filing deadline of May 31 has expired, such companies must file electronically, regardless of whether the BEA has notified them of their obligation to file. There is no fee to file, but failure to file the appropriate BEA report carries civil penalties ranging from nearly $5,000 to more than $45,000. Willful violations carry potential criminal penalties of as much as $10,000 and, for individuals, imprisonment for as much as one year, or both.
The reports – known collectively as the BE-12 Benchmark Survey of Foreign Direct Investment in the United States – differ from the BEA’s annual reports known as BE-11 and BE-15. The BE-12 survey is conducted every five years and helps the Department of Commerce prepare official statistics on foreign direct investment.
Which BE-12 Form Should You File?
File Form BE-12A if your company is more than 50 percent owned, directly or indirectly, by foreign persons or entities and you have total assets, sales, gross operating revenues or net income of more than $300 million.
File Form BE-12B if your company is more than 50 percent owned, directly or indirectly, by foreign persons or entities, and you have total assets, sales, gross operating revenues or net income of more than $60 million, but none of which exceed $300 million; OR your company is between 10 and 50 percent owned by foreign persons or entities AND you have total assets, sales, gross operating revenues or net income of more than $60 million.
File Form BE-12 if your company is owned at least 10 percent, directly or indirectly, by foreign persons or entities AND you have total assets, sales, gross operating revenues or net income of less than $60 million.
File Form BE-12Claim for Not Filing if you do not meet the requirements for filing any of the above three forms but were notified by the BEA that you must file the BE-12 survey.
What Does the Government Do with the Data It Collects?
The BEA is empowered by federal statute to collect the surveys and the data they contain. The same laws require the BEA to keep the surveys and data confidential and use them only for analytical and statistical purposes. Businesses may give prior written consent – but are not obligated to do so – that would allow the BEA to use the information in any way that would identify the company. The government cannot use the surveys or data contained in them for taxation, investigation or regulatory pursuits. Generally speaking, the survey is designed to measure how many new companies are being formed by foreign entities or individuals in the U.S., as well as the amount of new foreign direct investment and its impact on our economy.