FATCA has caused severe upheaval to our lives. But FATCA’s a problem that our usual support system of friends and family often don’t understand and can’t relate to. We understand. We’ve given each other a lot of support and we’ve all got through (or are feeling much better and much more like ourselves as we get through).
The first five comments on this thread originally appeared on, and were copied from, the post/thread A FATCA Related Suicide, a discussion of a case in Sweden, which Patricia Moon learned of and researched further into.
This page was created to be a page focused on our own problems/situations, where we can share support and our coping strategies. If FATCA is overtaking your life to any extent, whether crushingly or to a lesser extent, please post here.
Related thread: You may find some practical tips on Banking Issues
I have just come across this FATCA law. I am having a very stressful year as it is – I left my job to move in with my mother who has Alzheimers. My current bank is closing down, and I can’t open a new one because of FATCA. This has really pushed me over the edge, and I came very close last weekend to ending it all. I know it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but right now, FATCA is destroying my life.
I was born in the US to British parents, I’ve been British all my life as far as I’m concerned. We left the US when I was 9 months old (MONTHS). I made no decisions about staying or leaving the US. I can’t even remember being there as I was a baby.
…. and by the way, Polly. I was a happy person before this last year. I enjoyed my life, I was positive. I was saving for a house. Dealing with the Alzheimers has been a huge struggle. FATCA has pushed me over the edge.
I’m so glad you found our site. If Polly doesn’t see this — it’s an old thread — I’m sure others will be commenting soon. Many of us have has incredible stress problems with this. I felt like my life, as I’d always known it was over. We’ve given each other a lot of support and we’ve all got through (or feeling much better and much more like ourselves as we get through). Several British people post here and they may have some specific suggestions for banking.
Thanks for the reply, Pacifica777. I’m living in Ireland now and cannot do anything about the bank as I’ve checked this out. It looks like the only option is to give a chunk of my savings to the US to renounce my citizenship. This makes me angry that I should have to pay so much of money that I’ve worked hard for, but there’s something else – it’s like a fear that anything can now be taken from me at any time. I think it’s because it was all so unexpected. Life was normal one day, then the next day you wake up with a new nationality under a different set of rules. I feel less isolated knowing there are more of you out there, but I’m also sorry that there are so many of us in this bizarre situation.
Sarah. You have come to a very helpful site. You will perhaps get a lot of advice, some of it contradictory. One thing we have learned over the past 10 years is that the IRS has no interest and no ability to bother accidental Americans who live outside the US.
They have no budget and no resources to go after unknown persons in GB or Ireland with no prospect of getting a return on their time.
So, try not to stress, don’t rush into anything and listen to our advice. You will be fine.
Firstly, don’t enter the IRS system. They don’t even know you exist. If you give us a little more information we may be able to help with banking.
For example, let’s say you need to open an account at a new bank. Let’s say it is impossible to do that without revealing your birh place. (if you don’t have to reveal it, so much the better).( there is wide agreement that, since the US and the IRS are way offside , it is not necessary to play by their rules)
Back to the hypothetical. Let’s say you are fatca’d and your banking information is sent to he IRS along with about 100 million others. Trust us they would have absolutely no ability or interest in doing anything with the information. It is all done by computer matching. The computers would have nothing to go on.
My spouse was told she would a considerable sum. We almost panicked and almost joined the first amnesty program. We came within days. What a disaster that would have been. In the end, with proper planning, we owed the IRS nothing
Slow down, take your time, listen and learn.
Perhaps this should be on a different thread. Fatca discussion? Accidental Americans? Ireland?
There are people and resources here who can give you helpful information and suggestions. Many of us have been through similar feelings of anger, fear and anxiety. Don’t despair.
A few thoughts come to my mind. Do you have UK or Irish citizenship? Have you ever worked for the UK or Irish government? The US has self-relinquishing rules such as taking on a foreign citizenship or working for a foreign gov. You may be able to convince a new bank that you are not a US citizen (without a formal US
Certificate of Loss of Nationality). I’m assuming that in Ireland it is impossible to open a new account without disclosing your place of birth.
I’m so glad you found this site Sarah – it literally saved me from a very dark place. I am so sorry you are having to deal with this, and care for your mother at the same time. You are not alone, we are all in the same boat, and have been through the initial dark stages. The advice given on here is brilliant, and the main thing is not to be afraid, and really believe that nobody is going to come after you. I had visions of IRS officials beating down the door after reading all the nonsense spouted by the tax condors that you inevitably find when you first realise you are in this ridiculously unbelievable situation. I was in the same situation as you, but left the US at 6 months old – over 60 years ago! I would, if possible (and I think it is) try to open a new account, saying I was British, and using a form of ID which doesn’t show place of birth. Alternatively try the invented SSN – and what’s the worst that can happen, you just say you made a mistake – but they will never contact you! I would never have considered lying or giving false information before, but to me this is so unjust and immoral that now I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. I personally renounced my citizenship in 2019, but I know that isn’t possible in most places at the moment, and I appreciate it’s a big expense. The fact that they are making it impossible to renounce at present is another reason not to feel bad about stretching the truth! I hope the advice given on here by the many lovely, helpful contributors will help you get through this bad patch. There is always someone you can ask, no matter what time of day or night! I hope you can get some support caring for your mother – my mother-in-law also had Alzheimer’s and it’s a very cruel disease. Hopefully you have some local groups which might help you, or give advice. Take good care.
Hi everyone, thanks so much for all your comments. I’m Scottish, so have my British passport (I AM British!!). Encouraging to hear you say not to enter the IRS system. I really don’t want to file – simply because a) it’s wrong b) I have been saving for a small house for a few years and I would probably lose a lot of this. I would renounce, but I’d still have to file AND pay the large fee, so that’s a lose-lose.
I’ve always been honest too, but am seriously considering using the false social security number. Unfortunately Irish driving licence states country of birth. British passport only has the city – this is New York. There is a New York in England it turns out, but it’s only a hamlet, so I could maybe try this, but I’m not sure how believable that would be (I’m not sure I’d be comfortable saying I was born in New York, Jamaica/Singapore/Honduras, etc!).
What makes this so wrong to me is: I can’t understand why the US didn’t provide us with a US social security number a long time ago if they wanted us to pay taxes, and if I’d known that I was meant to pay taxes, I wouldn’t have a lump sum sitting in the bank. I just don’t understand how they’re able to turn round all these years later and suddenly start demanding money!
We’ll see what happens. It really is the most surreal situation. I’m feeling better knowing there are more of us out there, and I’m going to do my best to find a way round this.
I copied Sarah’s comment and moved replies to it, which discuss banking strategies, to the Banking Issues thread.