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Form 8621 – Passive Foreign Investment Company (PFIC) Return

Form 8621 Purpose

A U.S. person that is a direct or indirect shareholder of a passive foreign investment company (PFIC) or qualified electing fund (QEF) files the Form 8621:

  • when they receive certain direct or indirect distributions from a PFIC,
  • recognize a gain on a direct or indirect disposition of PFIC stock, or
  • are making an election reportable in Part II of the form.

Who Must File The Form 8621

Generally, a U.S. person that is a direct or indirect shareholder of a PFIC must file Form 8621 for each tax year under the following five circumstances if the U.S. person:

  1. Receives certain direct or indirect distributions from a PFIC,
  2. Recognizes gain on a direct or indirect disposition of PFIC stock,
  3. Is reporting information with respect to a QEF or mark-to-market election,
  4. Is making an election reportable in Part II of the form, or
  5. Is required to file an annual report pursuant to section 1298(f).

A separate Form 8621 must be filed for each PFIC in which stock is held directly or indirectly.

When To File The Form 8621

Form 8621 is attached to the shareholder’s tax return (or, if applicable, partnership or exempt organization return) and both must be filed by the due date, including extensions, of the return at the Internal Revenue Service Center where the tax return is required to be filed.

Passive Foreign Investment Company (PFIC) Definition

A foreign corporation is a PFIC if it meets either the income or asset test described below.

  • Income test. 75% or more of the corporation’s gross income for its taxable year is passive income (as defined in section 1297(b)).
  • Asset test. At least 50% of the average percentage of assets (determined under section 1297(e)) held by the foreign corporation during the taxable year are assets that produce passive income or that are held for the production of passive income.

Penalties For Failure To File Form 8621

Section 1298(f) and the regulations do not impose a specific penalty for failure to file Form 8621. However, the regulations coordinate the Form 8621 filing requirements with the Form 8938 filing requirements. Section 6038D requires a U.S. individual to disclose any directly held foreign financial assets on Form 8938 if the aggregate value of the individual’s foreign financial assets exceeds the filing threshold. An exception to the disclosure requirement applies to any foreign financial asset the individual reports on another disclosure form such as Form 8621. A U.S. individual shareholder who fails to disclose a directly held PFIC investment on either Form 8621 or Form 8938 when required can be subject to a $10,000 penalty under §6038D(d).

In addition, failure to file a required Form 8621 can result in the suspension of the statute of limitations with respect to the U.S. shareholder’s entire tax return until the shareholder files Form 8621. This means the IRS could have an unlimited amount of time to audit the U.S. shareholder’s tax return and assess tax if the U.S. shareholder fails to file a required Form 8621. However, the statute of limitations is suspended only with respect to the unreported PFIC investment and not to other unrelated portions of the U.S. shareholder’s tax return if the shareholder has reasonable cause for the failure to file Form 8621.

Our goal at Tax Samaritan is to provide the best counsel, advocacy and personal service for our clients. We are not only tax preparation and representation experts, but strive to become valued business partners. Tax Samaritan is committed to understanding our client’s unique needs; every tax situation is different and requires a personal approach in providing realistic and effective solutions.
The most important, and perhaps the most difficult, step in complying with the new §1298 Form 8621 filing requirements, is simply identifying investments that qualify as PFIC stock.

Taxpayers should pay particular attention to investments in foreign mutual funds, particularly when investing through foreign banks and brokerages. Foreign mutual funds are generally considered a PFIC holding.

If you need help determining whether a Form 8621 filing obligation exists, or if you need assistance with compliance, please click the button below to request a Tax Preparation Quote today for the reporting of your PFIC holdings.

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Click here to learn more about the Form 8621 and PFIC Reporting .

Tax Samaritan is a team of Enrolled Agents with over 25 years of experience focusing on US tax preparation and representation. We maintain this tax blog where all articles are written by Enrolled Agents. Our main objective is to educate US taxpayers on their tax responsibilities and the selection of a tax professional. Our articles are also designed to help taxpayers looking to self prepare, providing specific tips and pitfalls to avoid.

When looking for a tax professional, choose carefully. We recommend that you hire a credentialed tax professional such as Tax Samaritan that is an Enrolled Agent (America’s Tax Experts). If you are a US taxpayer overseas, we further recommend that you seek a professional who is experienced in expat tax preparation, like Tax Samaritan (most tax professionals have limited to no experience with the unique tax issues of expat taxpayers).

Randall Brody is an enrolled agent, licensed by the US Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections and appeals. To attain the enrolled agent designation, candidates must demonstrate expertise in taxation, fulfill continuing education credits and adhere to a stringent code of ethics.

Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.



Updated: December 1, 2014

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