Form 5471: Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect To Certain Foreign Corporations

Form 5471, officially titled "Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations," is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) document used by U.S. citizens and residents to report their involvement with specific foreign corporations.

Who Needs to File Form 5471?

Not all U.S. citizens with connections to foreign corporations need to file Form 5471. It applies specifically to individuals in the following situations:

A. U.S. Shareholders: You are a U.S. citizen or resident who owns at least 10% of the voting power or value of a foreign corporation.

B. Officers and Directors: You are a U.S. citizen or resident who serves as an officer or director in a Controlled Foreign Corporation (CFC). A CFC is a foreign corporation where more than 50% of the voting power or total value of stock is controlled by U.S. shareholders.

C. Specified Foreign Corporations (SFC): You are a U.S. citizen or resident who owns stock in a foreign corporation designated as an SFC under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 965.

What Information Does Form 5471 Require?

The specific information needed on Form 5471 depends on the filer's category and the type of foreign corporation. However, some general details include:

  • The filer's contact information and tax identification number
  • The foreign corporation's name, address, and Employer Identification Number (EIN) if it has one
  • The filer's ownership stake in the corporation
  • The corporation's financial activities, income, and assets
  • Transactions between the US person and the foreign corporation

Most Common Questions About Form 5471:

Do I need to file if multiple U.S. citizens own the corporation?

In most cases, only one U.S. shareholder needs to file if they all own the same percentage. However, a statement attached to each filer's tax return might be required.

What are the filing deadlines?

Form 5471 is generally due on the same date as your individual tax return, typically April 15th with extensions available.

Are there penalties for not filing?

Yes, the IRS can impose significant penalties for failing to file Form 5471 on time.