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Foreign Corporation Reporting


If own a home or real estate held by a foreign corporation then you are required to File Form 5471.

Excellent article in Forbes discussing Form 5471, 03/03/2014 - click here.


Form 5471 - Information Return of U.S. Persons with Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations


Form 5471 is in an information return that must be filed by U.S. citizens and U.S. residents who are officers, directors, or shareholders in certain foreign corporations.

Form 5471 Filing Requirements


Form 5471 is required to be filed in the following situations (Form 5471 instructions):


   -  U.S. person becomes a director or officer of a foreign corporation.

   -  U.S. person acquires an ownership interest in a foreign corporation in excess of the prescribed limits.

   -  U.S. person disposes of stock in a foreign corporation that reduces his or her interest in the foreign corporation to less than the prescribed limits.

   -  U.S. person is in control of a foreign corporation for an uninterrupted period of at least 30 days in a year.

   -  U.S. person is a 10% or more shareholder in a foreign corporation that is a “controlled foreign corporation” for an uninterrupted period of at least 30 days in a year and that person owns that stock on the last day of the year.


In determining the ownership interest, the complex rules of direct, indirect, and constructive ownership come in to play as well. Not only that, the category of filers can get confusing, The categories are used to determine which schedules, statements and/or other information must be included as part of the Form 5471 filing. To say that the Form 5471 filing instructions are complex and difficult to understand would be an understatement.


The form and attached schedules are used to satisfy the reporting requirements of transactions between foreign corporations and U.S. persons under sections 6038 and 6046 of the Internal Revenue Code. Substantial penalties exist for U.S. citizens and U.S. residents who are liable for filing Form 5471 and who failed to do so.

Form 5471 Filing Deadline


The Form 5471 filing is attached to your individual income tax return and is to be filed by the due date (including extensions) for that return.

IRS Form 5471 Penalties


It’s an important form to file because if you fail to file the form and were required to file the form you can be subject to a substantial penalty $10,000 or more for each year.


Additional penalties of up to $50,000 are charged for instances of continued failure. Any person who fails to file or report all of the information required within the time prescribed will be subject to a reduction of 10% of the foreign taxes available for credit. Continued cases of failure are also subject to additional reductions. In addition, criminal penalties may also apply for failure to file the requisite information. If you are directly or indirectly involved in a foreign corporation in any of the ways discussed above, we advise you to contact us to determine if you have any filing obligations.


Last but not least, if the form is not filed, your Form 1040 would be considered to be non-filed by the IRS leaving your individual return open for audit and penalties indefinitely. This is a dream come true for the IRS.


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