Form 8621 PFIC Reporting: Navigating the Highly Complex IRS Passive Foreign Investment Company Rules

Determining Which Assets Require PFIC Reporting, Calculating Tax and Interest, Leveraging QEF Elections

Recording of a 110-minute CPE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, January 5, 2017

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This course will furnish tax advisers with a thorough and practical guide to the reporting of investments in a passive foreign investment company (PFIC) on IRS Form 8621. The panel will identify those investments that require PFIC reporting, outline the various elections available to taxpayers holding interests in PFICs and discuss the tax implications of those elections, and will provide an example of a completed Form 8621 to illustrate reporting requirements.


Among the most complex of IRS requirements affecting individual taxpayers are the rules for PFICs. Taxpayers owning interests in PFICs have a significantly higher reporting burden than U.S. taxpayers owning interests in U.S.-based mutual funds. Further complicating matters is that, unlike U.S.-based funds, foreign investments have no obligation to furnish U.S.-based investors with any tax reporting information, so the responsibility falls entirely on the shareholder to determine ownership share and tax obligations arising from that share.

In recent years, the IRS has issued several Notices to provide guidance in clarifying the reporting obligations of PFIC holdings. The result of this guidance is that more taxpayers are required to file Form 8621 than in the past.

While the thresholds for determining whether an investment qualifies as ownership of a PFIC seem relatively straightforward, there are exceptions and exclusions to those definitions. Further, the Code provides for elections for the taxpayer to elect out of the “tax and interest” regime of IRC 1291. However, each method of electing out of PFIC treatment has tax and reporting consequences, and tax advisers must have a thorough knowledge of the tax impact of these elections in advising their clients.

Listen as our panel of expert advisers provides a thorough guide to reporting PFIC ownership shares, including determination of what assets must be reported as PFICs, performing the difficult tax calculations required by the PFIC reporting regime, and understanding the elections available to opt out of PFIC reporting.



  1. Identifying PFIC investments subject to filing requirements
  2. Filing thresholds and key exclusions
  3. Elections available to taxpayers
    1. Mark-to-market
    2. QEF election
  4. Completing Form 8621


The panel will discuss these and other important issues:

  • Types of foreign investments that must be reported as PFIC holdings
  • Calculating the “tax and interest” on PFICs under IRC 1291
  • Available elections to opt out of PFIC treatment
  • Tax effects of these elections, from a tax due and a reporting standpoint
  • Completing a Form 8621 to report PFIC holdings, including reporting elections


Flynn, Steven
Steven Flynn

W.L. Dueck & Co.

Mr. Flynn concentrates in the area of Canadian and US cross-border tax. His practice includes US and Canadian...  |  Read More

Ghassemieh, Mehrdad
Mehrdad Ghassemieh

Harlowe & Falk

Mr. Ghassemieh's practice focuses on assisting companies of all sizes, in all business and tax matters,...  |  Read More

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