On July 2 2014 my understanding is that Canada’s banks will be asking (at least) new account holders questions and employing a variety of approaches to establish U.S. personhood. These questions will violate Canada’s Charter Of Rights and other laws. Many of us also wonder whether the Silent Majority out there feels that such questions have no consequence.
Coming to a Canadian bank near you?
We need to know the actual questions and approaches and are focusing first on questions about U.S. personhood that will be asked by Canada’s major banks when Canadians open a NEW PERSONAL CHEQUING account after July 1. I suspect that different banks may ask different questions.
When you have this information, please provide in your comments these questions to be asked and I will update the top of this post.
[Please also read the disturbing comments below from @Pollyanna, who reports that one Canadian bank actually used information provided in casual conversations with the account manager to help establish whether the account holder is a U.S. person.]
My local Canadian bank branches provide this information on U.S. questions asked or not asked when opening a new account (this info may all be incorrect; please correct):
SCOTIA BANK: “Are you a U.S. person for tax purposes?”
TD BANK CANADA TRUST: “Are you a U.S. citizen” AND “Where were you born?”
TD’s web information page: http://www.td.com/fatca/index.jsp
See: LM Correspondence with CustomerCare, TD for others to consider in relation to their own FFI’s web information and their relationship with their FIs.
HSBC CANADA: “Do you hold multiple citizenship” AND “What is your place of birth”
NEW HSBC information consent
CIBC: Local branch will receive info July 2.
Note: the link below is for CIBC World Markets, which deals with Wholesale Banking (Corporate & Institutional) as opposed to Retail Banking (Personal & Small Business). We have yet to see a CIBC FATCA page specifically written for Retail Banking clients. Perhaps as of July 2, once local CIBC branches receive info, there will be such as page on the CIBC website.
BMO: “Do you have any other citizenships” (tentative per @Anne Boleyn)
RBC ROYAL BANK:
I would be very skeptical of this information:
“If you open a new account and provide two pieces of ID that are not U.S. tainted and do NOT INCLUDE A CANADIAN PASSPORT (e.g., Canadian driver’s license and social insurance number are ok) and the bank has no other evidence to indicate that you are a US person (e.g., you never told the bank by mistake) no U.S. questions will be asked.
However, should you PRESENT A (TOXIC) CANADIAN PASSPORT at the time of opening an account, YOU WILL BE ASKED whether you do or do not have a U.S. place of birth.”
The way to stop the questions from being asked is to go to:
We’ve been down this road many times. Your FI including Van City is required to ask if you are a tax resident ( however you choose to interpret that) of any other country. you are perfectly free to answer no.
“Your FI including Van City is required to ask if you are a tax resident ( however you choose to interpret that) of any other country. you are perfectly free to answer no.”
This is true. However, my contact with Vancity was to point out to management their former policy of utilizing Local Base Client status for FATCA reporting. They have abandoned this and now report clients with any US taint. I want them to know I’m aware of this and don’t approve.
I to will be voicing my concern with my local credit union manager
the “local based client” status was the only reason I moved my accounts over to them
guess my only option now is to lie to them as well
…or move to one of the FATCA-free online credit unions.
I get the impression that Van City won’t ask your US status unless you open another account or have US indica on record?
I also initially moved my accounts from TD and RBC to Vancity as protection from US FATCA before it went into effect. But then proceeded to renounce and get CLN. Without a CLN, I wouldn’t speak to any Vancity employee about FATCA or my status now. They are in compliance mode now and asking questions. It’s possible if one is already a member and doesn’t open new accounts and doesn’t have any US indica on record that things will be okay.
I’ve been with RBC and TD for 47 and 35 years respectively, and never did get any fishing questions from them. I had no indicia there, and the only I would have ever had was a US birthplace.
Well it appears that most credit unions are now following the same policy as the big banks. Sigh.
If you’re a long-time customer with no US indicia (e.g. an old mailing address if you spent a few years working or studying south of the border) then they will have no reason to ask about existing accounts. Opening a new account where you currently bank might trigger questions. Opening accounts at a new institution will definitely trigger questions.
However, if your conscience permits you to lie, there’s no evidence that they will validate the truthfulness of your answer by asking for documentation of birthplace etc.
I have no problem lying to the bank or any person or business that asks about my place of birth.
I have a document in my desk and safety deposit box that attests to the fact that I became a Canadian citizen in april of 1980.
I also have this quote printed out and hanging in my office “that’s a racist question, are Canadian citizens born elsewhere less Canadian? I do not answer racist questions.’ and it will be used if the asker of the question persists in pushing the citizenship question with me. quote attributed to another shining brock star…I think… 🙂
I just tried the Implicity.ca online application form. It says they comply with CRS but still no questions about US connections. From that I believe they are still a local-client-based FI for FATCA purposes.
I just had a look at the Achieva web site. Their application form now says:
The fact that they mention FATCA may indicate they have done what Van City has done and dropped their local-client base FATCA exemption. However, it might only be a reference to that fact that even FATCA-free LCB FIs have to report you to FATCA if you open an account and later move out of Canada permanently.
OK, just looked at the last of the 3 credit unions that I knew were local-client based FATCA exempted, AcceleRate Financial.
Their application form now even includes a CRA form asking about tax residency of other countries, including the US specifically, and mentions both CRS and FATCA.
“The fact that they mention FATCA may indicate they have done what Van City has done and dropped their local-client base FATCA exemption. However, it might only be a reference to that fact that even FATCA-free LCB FIs have to report you to FATCA if you open an account and later move out of Canada permanently.”
Can’t bother to look it up but I think that’s what the original Vancity statement said, they’d only do FATCA reporting on US persons with a US address or not resident in Canada, or something like that.
Right. This isn’t new, it’s explicitly stated in the IGA that even exempt FIs must report US persons who are no longer resident in Canada.
Recently opened new accounts at Scotia and RBC brokerages. In both cases there were no questions about place of birth. What they do ask is ‘ are you a tax resident of another country’. No proof required. I.E. one is free to self certify. It appears both are doing as little as possible.
“No proof required. I.E. one is free to self certify.”
Right. If I had known in 2002 that it was illegal to tell the truth on US tax returns, I could have presumed the same with the inquiry from TD Waterhouse, because even though the inquiry came from Canada regarding my account in Canada, it asked if I was a US citizen. In fact they already stated the presumption that I wasn’t a US citizen, so perhaps I could have done nothing. But silly me, I stupidly told the truth myself, and see where it got me.
At least it didn’t hurt me in or around 2015 to send TD Canada Trust their version of W-8BEN with my CLN. Perhaps I could have done nothing.
“Self-certify” is now my delightful all-purpose euphemism for not telling the full truth.
I’m glad that it’s now being worded as tax resident (though there’s probably fine print stating that US citizens and green card holders are always tax resident) because that may be sufficiently confusing for some accidentals unaware of the dangers to give the “wrong” answer and spare themselves some grief.
I will soon attempt self certification. The reasonable reason for not having a CLN is its cost.
For a couple of years I managed to dodge the show us you’re a real person, give us two pieces of ID, update at my local credit union but today when I felt they might not do the transfer I wished to make I went ahead with it but not before I went home to check their ID requirements online (plus the government’s requirements) and then I only ended up giving them my Canadian birth certificate and a never-used credit card to nod at. There were some questions but the only one which could have been FATCA/CSR related was, “Do you pay taxes to another country?” Of course I gave a quick no to that and that was it. Nothing to sign and hopefully it will be many years before I have to prove I’m a real person to them again.