FATCA Makes US Expats Banking Outcasts

FATCA is a direct attack on 6 million Americans who live overseas, according to an expat group lobbying against the tax.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is aimed at taxing US expats and makes the States and the tiny African nation of Eritrea the only countries in the world that tax nationals who live elsewhere.

US expats argue complying with FATCA by filling in forms and gathering the paperwork to support the documentation is time-consuming and expensive.

As a result, American expats are finding they are shunned by banks who do not want the cost and effort of FATCA compliance.

Many are politely asked to close their accounts and take their business elsewhere – but if they do, they have to make sure their financial affairs are FATCA compliant.

Shunned and scared

Overseas opposition to FATCA includes the group American Citizens Abroad (ACA).

The ACA wants the US government to adopt a residency-based tax system, which means Americans are taxed at home, but not overseas.

“Many are furious about what FATCA means to them, and some are scared they will fall foul of the new rules unintentionally,” said Jackie Bugnion, an ACA spokesperson.

“Banks don’t want American customers anymore because of the hassles with FATCA. Expats are having accounts closed, and while they may find a bank offering a current account, deposit accounts are almost impossible to locate. Some expats have had their mortgages cancelled and many are refused loans.”

FATCA requires US expats to file a tax return, together with an extra report about income and interest from any assets worth more than $50,000 held outside the USA. Filing starts in January 2014.

FATCA goes global

Meanwhile, protesters against the law in Washington are battling in a last-ditch bid to encourage politicians to repeal FATCA.

Unfortunately, President Barak Obama is a strong supporter of FATCA, having introduced the law as part of a broader tax act in 2010.

The rest of the world is fast jumping on the FATCA bandwagon. The UK and Europe are drafting similar laws to automatically collect financial information about accounts held offshore by taxpayers.

More than 60 countries have signed up to FATCA – including many leading economies like the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan.

Many former tax havens are registering as FATCA compliant – including Switzerland.

All the signs are that FATCA-style tax laws will become the global norm, rather than an exception for US expats.

1 thought on “FATCA Makes US Expats Banking Outcasts”

  1. If this becomes the “global norm” then relinquishing and renouncing U.S. citizenship will also become the “global norm” You can’t live where you can’t open a bank account or where your foreign spouse, children or other family are having to turn over their bank data to foreign nations. Countries other than the U.S. and Eritrea don’t tax on citizenship no matter where you live in the world. Only those two do so it is baffling whether the costs out weigh the benefit to most countries in this world. FATCA may not be a completely done deal in Canada where I live. It is a sticky situation here as it violates our privacy laws and Charter of Rights. There will be law suits as FATCA creates two tiers of Canadian citizen. Those who are dual, those related to a dual citizen of the U.S. and everyone else. This is illegal here. Canadians are not keen to change our Charter just to please the U.S. At any rate I do feel something will go forward into place and I feel just as strongly that when this monstrosity is seen for what it really is, there will be many revisions to it. Until then it is criminalizing anyone who dares to not live in the U.S. and causing harm to millions of innocent ex pats. They have had many ways they could have still gone after those who “off shore” large sums, those who live IN the U.S. and move this money. They could allow long term ex pats to be taxed as foreign citizens. This is a workable solution that makes a big difference between those just living their lives long term abroad and those who live in the U.S. and move money to tax havens. We are not a tax haven at all, to treat high tax countries as if they are tax havens anyway is insulting. The United States has become the bully of the world where this is concerned. If you have a foreign spouse they might object to turning over their private banking data to a foreign nation *the U.S.* and so they should. This is the stuff of the spying NSA’s dreams.


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