IRS Form 3520 & US Tax Requirements

IRS Form 3520 is a reporting form used by U.S. taxpayers, including U.S. expatriates, to report certain financial transactions and activities involving foreign trusts and foreign gifts or inheritances. The form helps the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) track and ensure compliance with U.S. tax laws in cases where individuals have received significant gifts or inheritances from foreign sources or have engaged with foreign trusts.

Key Points:

Foreign Gifts and Inheritances:

Form 3520 is primarily used to report two main categories of transactions:

Receipt of significant gifts or bequests (inheritances) from foreign individuals or entities, which exceed specific thresholds set by the IRS.

Transactions with foreign trusts, including contributions to and distributions from foreign trusts.

Reporting Thresholds:

The specific reporting thresholds for foreign gifts and inheritances are subject to change and depend on the nature of the transaction and the relationship between the recipient and the giver. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the threshold for reporting foreign gifts and bequests was generally $100,000 for individuals, or $16,388 for gifts from foreign corporations or partnerships.

Filing Deadlines:

U.S. taxpayers must report these transactions annually, and Form 3520 is typically due with their regular income tax return, including extensions. It’s important to meet these deadlines to avoid potential penalties.


Failure to file Form 3520 when required can result in significant penalties, which may be substantial for U.S. expatriates who have received substantial gifts or inheritances from foreign sources.

Tax Advisory Services from Xerxes Associates LLP:

Tax advisors like Xerxes Associates LLP can provide valuable assistance to U.S. expatriates in understanding their reporting obligations related to Form 3520, ensuring they meet the filing requirements, and helping to navigate the complexities of foreign financial transactions.

In summary, IRS Form 3520 is an essential reporting form for U.S. expatriates living in the UK who have received significant gifts or inheritances from foreign sources or have engaged with foreign trusts. Properly reporting these transactions and understanding the thresholds and deadlines associated with Form 3520 are crucial for tax compliance. Tax advisors, such as Xerxes Associates LLP, can provide expert guidance to help individuals fulfil their reporting obligations and avoid potential penalties.

Contact us via or fill out our contact form to discuss your expat tax situation with us.

Read more here: Xerxes US Expats Living & Working in the UK Blog.