Form 3520-A is a very important US international information return. It can be very complex and has somewhat tricky filing requirements as well as significant noncompliance penalties. In order to avoid these penalties, you need to file a correct Form 3520-A timely. In this essay, I will discuss the 2021 Form 3520-A deadline in the calendar year 2022.
2021 Form 3520-A Deadline: Purpose of Form 3520-A
Form 3520-A occupies an important role in US international tax law. Its primary purpose is to supply certain information about a foreign trust with at least one US person who is treated as an owner of the foreign trust under the grantor trust rules found in the IRC (Internal Revenue Code) §§671-679.
Through Form 3520-A, the IRS collects not only the data about the foreign trust and its US beneficiaries, but also the information concerning interactions between the foreign trust and its US owners. Moreover, Form 3520-A indicates the amount of income a US owner must recognize on his US tax returns (irrespective of whether this income was distributed to the owner).
2021 Form 3520-A Deadline: Who Must File
As I mentioned above, the question of “who must file” Form 3520-A is quite tricky. Generally, a foreign trust with a US owner has responsibility to file Form 3520-A in order for the US owner to satisfy his annual information reporting requirements under IRC §6048(b). Hence, while a foreign trust officially must file Form 3520-A, in reality, it is the responsibility of each US person treated as an owner of any portion of a foreign trust to ensure that the trust files Form 3520-A and furnishes the required annual statements to its US owners and US beneficiaries.
What if the foreign trust fails to file the required Form 3520-A? Then, the US owner must complete a substitute Form 3520-A for the foreign trust and attach this substitute Form 3520-A to the US owner’s Form 3520.
2021 Form 3520-A Deadline: Penalties for Late Filing
If the foreign trust fails to file Form 3520-A timely and its US owner fails to submit a substitute Form 3520-A timely, then the US owner (I emphasize: not the foreign trust, but its US owner) will be subject to heavy Form 3520-A penalties.
The main penalty in this case would be $10,000 or 5% of the gross value of the foreign trust, whichever is higher. The “gross value” here means the portion of the foreign trust’s assets at the end of year treated as owned by US persons.
Additional penalties may apply if noncompliance lasts more than 90 days after the IRS mails a “failure to comply” notice. The US owner also may be subject to the underpayment penalties for failure to report income indicated on Form 3520-A. Finally, criminal penalties may be imposed under IRC §§7203, 7206 and 7207 for failure to file on time and for filing a false or fraudulent return.
2021 Form 3520-A Deadline: Where to File
The foreign trust needs to file Form 3520-A (including the statements on pages 3 and 5) at the following address:
Internal Revenue Service Center
P.O. Box 409101
Ogden, UT 84409
I recommend mailing Form 3520-A by US Certified Mail. I want to emphasize for the US readers who are mailing their returns – do NOT attach Form 3520-A to your US tax return. It must be mailed separately from your US income tax return to the address I indicated above.
2021 Form 3520-A Deadline: When to File
However, if you are filing a substitute Form 3520-A with your Form 3520, then your substitute Form 3520-A is due by the due date of Form 3520. The trust must also supply the Foreign Grantor Trust Owner Statement and Foreign Grantor Trust Beneficiary Statement to its US owners and US beneficiaries by the 15th of the third month after the end of the trust’s tax year, unless an extension is filed.
The foreign trust may file Form 7004 to request an automatic six-month Form 3520-A filing extension (it also applies to the aforementioned Statements). Note that filing Form 7004 is the only way to request this six-month extension. A common procedural tax trap is for people to file an income tax return extension (Form 4868) and think that this would apply to Form 3520-A. This is incorrect – you must separately file Form 7004 to get an extension on your Form 3520-A.
Thus, the current outstanding 2021 Form 3520-A deadline for a calendar-year filer is March 15, 2022. If Form 7004 is filed, then the extended 2021 Form 3520-A deadline for this filer would be September 15, 2022.
Contact Sherayzen Law Office for Professional Help With Your 2021 Form 3520-A Deadline
If you are required to file Form 3520-A or if you have not complied with your Form 3520-A reporting requirements in the past, you need to contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help! Sherayzen Law Office is an international tax law firm that specializes in offshore voluntary disclosures (including the ones that involve Form 3520-A) and US international information returns compliance. We can help you!
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