Does Your US Tax Return Require Trust Reporting?

by Lance Morris
Mar 11, 2019
W9 2018 Tax Laws Concept

Haven’t January and February passed quickly! We’re now in March, and ready to begin discussing the first major deadline of the year, the 15th March deadline for filing Form 3520-A, 1120, and 1065.

During 2018, the IRS began to apply penalties due to late filing of Form 3520 & 3520-A. These forms are related to Foreign Trust reporting.

Whilst the IRS previously only applied these on a discretionary basis, tax professionals across the industry have noted the IRS issuing large penalties as default practice for failure to file Form 3520 & 3520-A on time over the past 12 months.

For any taxpayer who has involvement with a foreign trust, you may have a requirement to file the above forms, and if not filed on time, it is highly likely that penalties may be issued by the IRS.

Importantly, it must be noted that in many cases even holding a Kiwisaver or Australian Superannuation account may mean you have involvement in a foreign grantor trust.

An extension of time can be requested to file these forms, which is essential in reducing risk of penalties. To clarify:

  • Form 3520 – Due 15th April 2019. Extension is granted alongside extension to file US tax return (Form 4868)
  • Form 3520-A – Due 15th March 2019 – Extension can be requested on Form 7004, and filed with the IRS

The important thing to note here, is to be cautious in determining if you have any involvement with a foreign trust. Many taxpayers are unaware of the NZ – US and Australia – US complicating factors when determining if you have involvement with a foreign trust. In many cases, simply holding a Kiwisaver or Australian superannuation account may require you to file Form 3520/3520-A.

If you are unsure of your filing obligations, or need assistance obtaining an extension, contact us today.