What is Substituted Form 3520-A?

Published on June 07, 2024
by Clark Stott

Clark Stott has been with Expat Tax Online since 2015. Being a dual national based in the UK, Clark has unique experience helping US citizens (and Accidental Americans) become tax compliant via the Streamlined Tax Amnesty program. Clark likes to help Americans in the UK keep their tax situations as simple as possible to avoid harsh IRS treatment.

What is Substituted Form 3520-A?

A substituted Form 3520-A allows US taxpayers with foreign trusts to align their filing deadline with their individual tax return due date, which is April 15. For expatriates, this can extend to June 15, and further to October 15 upon request. This helps streamline compliance and avoid penalties.

What information does Form 3520-A require?

Form 3520-A must be filed by US persons owning part of a foreign trust. It includes details about the trust, its US beneficiaries, and its financial activities, ensuring transparency with the IRS.

How should US owners of foreign trusts manage their Form 3520-A obligations?

File Form 3520-A by March 15 or request an extension to September 15 using Form 7004. Alternatively, file a substituted Form 3520-A with your Form 1040 by April 15, extendable to October 15. Consulting a tax professional can help avoid errors and penalties.

How do I get an EIN for my UK pension?

Here are the steps to obtain an EIN for your UK pension:

  • Prepare: Gather your annual pension statement.
  • Call the IRS: Contact +1 267 941 1099 between 6 AM and 11 PM EST.
  • Provide Trust Information: Name your trust uniquely, using your pension provider’s name and your initials.
  • Verification: Answer verification questions about your trust.
  • Registration: Follow IRS instructions to get your EIN during the call.
  • Duration: This process takes about 30 minutes.

Can I fill out Form 3520-A myself?

Yes, you can complete Form 3520-A on your own. Here’s how:

  • Download the Form: Get it from the IRS website. (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f3520a.pdf)
  • Collect Information: Gather details about the trust, including its name, address, tax ID, and financial statements.
  • Complete the Trustee’s Section: Accurately record the trust’s financial activities.
  • Fill Out Personal Details: Enter your information and relationship with the trust.
  • Attach Documents: Include required financial statements and details on distributions and beneficiaries.
  • Review and Sign: Check for errors, sign, and date the form.
  • Submit: Follow IRS submission instructions and deadlines.

Can I extend the deadline for filing Form 3520-A?

Yes, you can file Form 7004 to request a six-month extension, by the 15th day of the third month after the trust’s tax year ends, using the trust’s EIN.

What happens if there are errors on Form 3520-A?

Errors on Form 3520-A can lead to:

  • Penalties: Significant fines from the IRS.
  • Audits: IRS scrutiny of your tax records.
  • Corrections: Submit an amended form with an explanation of the mistake and correction.

Should I get professional help with Form 3520-A?

Yes, consulting a tax professional is recommended due to the complexity of foreign trusts. They can ensure your filings are accurate and help you navigate IRS forms and international tax obligations effectively.