After waiting for 3 long years, a story about FATCA was finally heard on some NPR stations around the Nation. This was created by PRI (Public Radio International). They have a daily radio show which they do in conjunction with the BBC, and it comes out of WGBH in Boston. It is appropriately called, The World. You can listen to the story here: What FATCA Did to American Bank Customers in Switzerland Coming on the heels of the CBC interview on Canada Day, it is good these stories are finally being heard by a wider audience.
More good media news
Thanks to ACA member, Dorothy, who brought Expats Radio to ACA’s attention, ACA now have relationship with them. The first ACA interview is NOW on their website. This will be the first of many and they will be working with them to help ACA reach a wider audience. You can listen to an interview with MaryLouise Serrato here.
Expats Radio informs ACA they have over 250,0000 visitors each month, plus they have a catalogue sharing agreement with NPR radio. This means ACA will be available to be heard on NPR and hopefully reach a deeper audience in the US.
The US indictment of Wegelin Bank in January for conspiracy to assist Americans to evade US taxes sent a shock wave through essentially all Swiss banks. Wegelin Bank was a privately-held private bank that only did business in Switzerland, although reportedly some of its employees travelled to the US to visit customers. Several years ago it stopped investing in US securities to free itself from the US QI Qualified Intermediary requirements. That Bank Wegelin had to be sold off as a result of the indictment got the attention of all Swiss banks.
The result has been that the banks have become very cautious when dealing with Americans. This has become increasingly noticeable in the past several months as the various banking associations and advisors have developed and presented strategies on how to deal with the US threat, including with resident Americans. I sense that the regional retail banks are particularly challenged because they do not have the in-house expertise to deal with the US compliance issues although they are likely the least exposed.
The bank attorney may have been over-the-top with his comment about other banks requiring a W-9 to open a safety deposit box, although it cannot be excluded as they strive to be ueber-korrekt going forward. Based on my reading, FATCA does not concern banking relationships without balances and exempts current accounts under US$50,000 from further review of the related master data for US Person evidence.
I found this interesting list (although outdated) compiled July 1999 by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, which lists the number of Americans registered abroad:
The total (3,784,693) is a lot less than 6-7 million, probably due to the fact that it is 13 years old, and that not every American is registered.
I guess US officials think it is OK to have ~12,000 victims as a result of their tax evaders hunt in Switzerland…
I just can’t believe that the US government is going to let the Swiss banks close US citizens accounts, without trying to work something out.
Banks closing American citizens accounts doesn’t just happen in Swizerland.
Here is a guy who posted the letter he received from his finnish bank:
I checked with Steven Mopsick about the safety deposit box, and his response was that the W-9 is NOT required by FATCA… FAQ22
Thanks for that blog. I posted a comment and invited them over here to comment..
Also tweeted the reference…
#FATCA is shutting down accnts in Finnland for #Americansabroad. @pritheworld @SenCarlLevin @DemsAbroad @BarackObama http://bit.ly/Osv6rm
NPRs morning Edition has a great opening for those who wish to comment about the tax and FATCA issues for those living overseas.
‘Globals’ Generation Focuses On Experience
I am making a comment to introduce a dose of Tax reality 🙂
The PRI’s The World story has become the most read story on their site… 🙂