Euro MPs Want To Protect Accidental Americans Against FATCA

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Accidental Americans chased by the US Internal Revenue Service for unpaid taxes have won support from the European Parliament’s largest group of politicians.

The Socialists & Democrats – a 190-strong left-wing lobby group – want the European Commission to step in to safeguard the financial interests of EU citizens caught by the American Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

The S&D, which is the only EU parliamentary group to have members from every member state, says thousands of signatures protesting the unfairness of FATCA have been received by MEPs.

“Thousands of Europeans are complaining about the unfair consequences of FATCA,” said S&D spokesperson Virginie Rozière.

Denied access to banking services

“These ‘accidental Americans’, many of whom have no substantial connection with the US are being forced to pay US taxes on top of those they pay in their country of residence. We have even heard the cases of Europeans who were born in the US while their parents were on holiday there.

“Years later, these people have received hefty bills from the US tax office, despite living and paying their tax in the EU. This is not acceptable. The European Commission must stand up for the rights of these EU citizens.

“Since FACTA came into force, banks in the EU have been obliged to disclose information on accounts held by presumed US citizens. This has led to many of these accidental Americans being denied access to basic banking services in the EU.

FATCA review

“This is a clear example of discrimination and breach of these EU citizen’s fundamental rights. On top of this, the US refuses to offer the same information about accounts of EU citizens living in the US. The EU needs to start standing up to the US on tax issues.

“We are calling for the European Commission to carry out a full assessment of the impact of FATCA on EU citizens, and explain whether a serious discrepancy between EU citizens and residents in different EU member states exists. We will continue our fight for the rights of all EU citizens.”

FATCA compliance started in 2015 and requires non-American banks and financial institutions to report the personal and financial details of US citizens controlling accounts.

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