George brings this to our attention:
The UK Government worked to include language about discrimination in the FATCA IGA.
j) The Financial Institution must not have policies or practices that
discriminate against opening or maintaining accounts for individuals
who are Specified US Persons and who are residents of the UK.
But was that nothing more than window dressing?
National Savings & Investments (NS&I) was established as a people’s bank in order to provide products that had the backing of HM Government;
In 1861, the Palmerston government set up the Post Office Savings Bank – a simple savings scheme aiming to encourage ordinary wage earners to “provide for themselves against adversity and ill health”. We separated from the Post Office in 1969, becoming National Savings. In 1996, we became an Executive Agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. NS&I (National Savings and Investments) is now one of the largest savings organisations in the UK, with over 25 million customers and more than £100 billion invested.
One of their products is a simple savings account called Direct Saver. Minimum investment is £1.
Through 30 March 2014, anyone could save through Direct Saver;
What does HM Government do as of 1 April 2014 with this simple and popular savings vehicle? It is available to everyone except…
17 . General limitations. Accounts cannot be:
(a) opened by a person who is either a US citizen and/or a US resident for tax purposes;
(b) opened by a person who is an undischarged bankrupt;
(c) opened by a person under a legal disability otherwise than in accordance with paragraph 16; or
(d) opened by one person on behalf of another otherwise than in accordance with paragraphs 14 and 16, unless the applicant is acting under a valid power of attorney; or
(e) held in trust.
HM Government is taking the lead with instutionalized discrimination against US Citizens,
Do as we say and not as we do.
Smartass suggestion: send a complaint to the Council of Europe’s Commissioner on Human Rights. I am deliberately not mentioning his name here, but you can find it in the below list =)
It seems that after two decades of living outside of the US as a dual citizen, he’s decided enough is enough. Perhaps he might lend a sympathetic ear.
Nice find – and a good suggestion.
The European Commission is inviting submissions until 3 July on the topic of “Tax problems faced by EU citizens when active across borders within the EU”. Ok, so they’re focusing on moving from Germany to Spain or Italy to the UK, but it’s an obvious opportunity to make your views known. All EU citizens are invited to participate. A one liner in an EU report about the most complaints coming about the US and not another EU country would be worth its weight in gold.
One thing that has occurred to me is that if the US were to go after someone like myself who’s already renounced and is purely a UK/EU citizen should have even greater protection. The US probably wouldn’t have the nerve to go through all the expense and hassle of the European courts. Duals and US citizens could certainky still have more issues though.
I’ve been following this site for months and just started posting recently. I am a EU citizen with US birthplace and have been living in the UK for over 20 years. My husband is a UK citizen. Our teens were all born here and registered in London. They therefore have no US indica unless they chose to declare it when they applied for a financial account.
@Eric & @Edelweiss you’ve found some great links
I’ve been reading this thread and was wondering what might happen if a UK citizen who is also a US “accidental american” confronted this head on with the banks? Our eldest will be 17 next month. Just suppose he went around to banks and deliberately tried to open accounts which we already know are not available to “US persons” and deliberately disclosed his US citizenship? Just thought subsequent rejections could be a good example of discrimination due to FATCA/IGA? This could form a genuine basis to raise a stink and complain and possibly even generate a “human interest” story for the press? He doesn’t consider himself to be an American, the US guidelines say he’s probably too young to renounce, his passport expired nearly a decade ago. I was told he HAD to have a US passport for him to travel to the US because he was automatically deemed a US citizen. (due to me spending my entire childhood there) Does anyone think there could be some value in pursuing this?
I would suggest that you and/or your son fill out one of the equalities commission discrimination complaints (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/discrimination-and-other-prohibited-conduct-complaints-questionnaire) and send it to each of National Savings and Investments (nsandi.com) and Royal Bank of Scotland Share Dealing (rbs-sharedealing.co.uk). The reason I say you and/or your son is because I’m not sure if there are age restrictions which would prevent a soon to be 17 year old from having either of these accounts. I would attach a copy of the terms and conditions for each account (http://www.nsandi.com/savings-direct-saver click on the tab “terms and conditions”) (http://www.rbs-sharedealing.co.uk/downloads/pdfs/RBS/RBS_terms.pdf) with clause 17(a) and 2.2.2, respectively, highlighted.
I also suggest that you write to the minister for equalities (The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP). Please ask him why the government has allowed two government owned entities to implement national origin discrimination. Attach the highlighted sections of the terms and conditions as proof.
I would write to Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty (http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/) and tell her that two government owned entities practice national origin discrimination. Attach the highlighted sections of the terms and conditions as proof.
I would also suggest writing to members of the opposition government. Ed Miliband as party leader and Gloria De Piero (Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities). Finally, I would write to your local MP and ask him/her to pose the question to the government on your behalf during Prime Minister’s Questions. In each case, attach the highlighted sections of the terms and conditions as proof.
@Eric: thanks for the find:
As someone likely born dual, he can at least escape the exit tax.
Does anyone know which other countries have made it clear that they will not open accounts for US persons?
The decision to reject US person clients is driven by the financial institution and their perception of the risk and reward of having US person clients so you will find significant variation across countries. In the UK, the only instance I’m aware of where a regular savings account is not available to a US person is the recently discovered example of the savings account at, oddly enough, National Savings & Investments. Share dealing accounts is where the greatest impact has been felt.
@Edelweiss, for info… I have already taken up the case of NS&I with my MP, who has duly passed the issue on the David Gauke. On past form Mr Gauke has appeared to be encased head to toe in teflon, so I expect no meaningful response, be we will see.
Your suggestion to include the Minister for Equalities and/or Liberty is excellent, and I’ve only just picked up on it. In the entirely predictable event that I receive nothing useful from Mr Gauke, it sounds like these folk should be my next call. Of course I’m no longer personally affected by this, so won’t make as strong a case as someone directly refused an account. I’ll keep plugging at it, though.
National Savings & Investments (NS&I), which has decided to toss out its 3,000 US Person customers, is 100% owned by the British government. It is the former Post Office Savings Bank, reporting to HM Treasury for the past 18 years:
There is something tragic about an Executive Agency of the British government categorically denying bank accounts to residents and citizens of the UK based on their parentage, place of birth, etc.
Can anyone say vassal state?