Swiss Banks Tell American Expats to Empty Their Accounts

“My U.S. passport has been such a liability,” complains one Zurich resident, as Swiss banks crack down on U.S.-owned accounts following new, strict American legislation coming into effect next year

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Gianluca Colla / Bloomberg / Getty Images

The Swiss national flag flies above buildings in Zurich on Dec. 12, 2011

A few months ago, Geneva journalist Christophe Ungar got quite a shock: without any prior notice, his local bank closed out his mutual funds account, resulting in considerable losses due to the early withdrawal. This was not an inadvertent mistake, but, rather, an intentional move to oust Ungar, a US citizen, from the financial institution where he had banked for years. “When the bank realized I was American, they started treating me like I had the plague,” he says.

This scenario is all too familiar to another American, Geneva financial adviser Anne Hornung-Soukup. Her accounts – including a pension investment fund – were suddenly closed in recent months by her two banks, each explaining in a letter that its services are no longer available to US citizens.

“This really ticks me off,” says Hornung-Soukup, who adds that the forced early withdrawal of her retirement fund meant she had to pay taxes on it earlier than she had anticipated.

Neither Hornung-Soukup nor Ungar’s case is unique or even rare. According to the Geneva-based expatriate advocacy group, American Citizens Abroad (ACA), which follows this issue closely, increasing numbers of US nationals in Switzerland are being denied banking services. However, according to ACA tax director Jackie Bugnon, the banks may not be totally to blame since they are “held hostage to US policies,” which require opening of American-held accounts to the scrutiny of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The backlash against US clients has been building up since 2008, with the news that Switzerland’s largest financial institution, UBS, helped wealthy Americans hide billions of dollars in undisclosed offshore accounts to evade taxes. The bank had to pay a $780 million fine and release the names of 250 suspected American tax dodgers. In recent years, however, Swiss banks have stepped up their efforts to curb the flow of undeclared money from the U.S. and elsewhere.

The United States is the only developed country (the other one is Eritrea) that taxes its citizens who live overseas, even if their income is generated in a foreign country and they live abroad permanently. Due to the financial burden of double taxation – by their country of residence and the U.S.–growing numbers of US citizens take the drastic step of relinquishing their American nationality. This year, nearly 2,400 expatriates have given up their U.S. citizenship or turned in their green cards. While this number may seem miniscule, it represents a 33% increase over 2011; experts say the real numbers are much higher because thousands of applications are still waiting to be processed.

Because of its tax policy, the U.S government has created a myriad of requirements for other nations to follow in order to ensure that no foreign account belonging to an American goes untaxed by Uncle Sam. The latest such regulation is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was passed by Congress in 2010 and goes into effect on January 1, 2014. It requires foreign banks to report to IRS all the assets exceeding $50,000 that belong to US citizens – whether living in America or abroad. Additionally, in August Switzerland signed a separate treaty with the United States, ending a longstanding tax dispute between the two countries, that also gave the IRS unprecedented access to Swiss accounts held by Americans and US green card holders.

Banks are reluctantly abiding by the new rules because of hefty fines – the IRS can withhold 30% of dividends and interest payments due to the banks from U.S accounts. Failure to comply with these regulations can seriously impact the Swiss banks’ ability to do business in America. “This is very risky for a financial institution because an indictment could bar the bank from the US capital market,” says Sindy Schmiegel, spokesperson for the Swiss Banking Association, an umbrella group for Switzerland’s financial institutions.

But the compliance with the US rules doesn’t come cheap – banks have to set up special logistics to deal with American clients and the Swiss government estimates the cost of FATCA reporting in a double-digit million figure for bigger financial institutions. Therefore, banks prefer the “better safe than sorry” approach that excludes American clients and the meddlesome oversight of the United States government. But for tens of thousands of US nationals living in Switzerland, no access to financial services means inability to set up retirement accounts, obtain loans, mortgages, or even rent an apartment.

“My U.S. passport has been such a liability,” says a Zurich resident who identifies herself only as “Jeannie.” Not only was she not allowed to open a savings account at any of the four banks she visited last month, but even her Swiss husband was denied a mortgage because Jeannie’s name was on a joint account. “We were told that they don’t deal with Americans because of all the hassle,” she says. “This really makes me mad – how am I supposed to have a normal life if I don’t have access to a bank?”

Paradoxically, regulations that were intended to catch and punish tax cheats are making life difficult for ordinary, middle-class people who have always played by the rules.  Many, like Hornung-Soukup, have lived overseas for decades, and others, like Ungar, have only tenuous ties to the U.S. — his father is American but he himself was born in Switzerland, never lived in the U.S. at all, and has no plans to move there.

The denial of bank services is most acute in Switzerland because the August agreement it signed with the US has accelerated the impact of FATCA. But once the law kicks in worldwide next month, an estimated 7 million Americans who live in other countries will likely face similar difficulties. In fact, some have already experienced problems; at an ACA town hall meeting held last week in London, about a third of the participants said they either had an account closed already or the threat of closing was held over their heads.

So far, no relief is in sight, but in October ACA’s executive director Marylouise Serrato wrote a letter to Robert Stack, IRS’ Deputy Assistant Secretary, noting that while the organization supports the government’s efforts to combat tax evasion, banking services would be more accessible to US nationals abroad if financial accounts located – and taxed – in the country of residence would not be subject to FATCA reporting.

The letter remains unanswered, which means that, for now at least, financial services are one commodity Americans living abroad can no longer bank on.

78 comments
ArthurCross
ArthurCross

Whatever happened to no taxation without representation? Who represents the interests of Americans living abroad? or the foreigners who happen to also have American citizenship?  The representatives of the last place they lived in the USA? Representatives for the place their parents lived? That makes no sense, at all; not only do these individuals have no stake in those districts, but it is also highly unlikely that their interests even register to those who supposedly represent them.  Unless you have Ex-pat congressmen, this sort of taxation is unjust and unamerican.

To those who beat on the simplistic drum of "if they ain't willing to pay, good riddance," I say the UN declaration of human rights states that "Everyone has the right to a nationality."  Citizenship, once bestowed is a right, and you cannot tax rights.  People do not pay for citizenship, they pay to contribute to the services and institutions that make up The United States of America...

If you don't live in a country and don't participate in its polity, you shouldn't pay, or be subject to the same financial scrutiny as those who do, it's such a simple truth that every other developed country else gets it. 

Besides, do you really want foreigners who happen to have US citizenship voting in American elections? (Especially when most of them probably live in countries that are more politically left of center than Americans in the USA?)

I didn't think so.


Lastly, the children of American citizens should have the right to live, work and participate in and contribute to the country of their forefathers, but they should not be subject to US taxation or scrutiny until they choose to do so.  Until that time the US should thank its lucky stars that it has so many abroad with ties to the USA; these people help spread american influence, and temper anti-american sentiment by creating personal connections with the America.  Rather than antagonizing these people and treating them like criminals, the US should be doing more to reach out to them in a positive way.

john_rambo
john_rambo

ExPats shouldn't be taxed. Try telling that to Obama Hood.

jackloach69
jackloach69

Sods ----- Law.

February.---- 2014.


For almost two decades we have strived to get justice for the injustice we have suffered at the hands of a world renowned bank--- PICTET & CIE. BANK.


Two yorkshiremen both running their own small family businesses trying to resolve the problem by taking all the correct legal procedures to recover their monies.


The matter was raised in Parliament – twice-- the FSA investigated the matter concluding that PICTET had rogues operating in their London Bank --- but the rogues had left ---saying no one left to prosecute.??? ----- so there.


We then approached the Financial Ombudsman Service. (FOS) --- our case was dealt with by seven different people ---- then our numerous E-Mails were ignored --- nobody would speak to us -------so there.


We then asked the SFO ( Serious Fraud Office.) to investigate our case ---- the criteria of our case ticked all their boxes. --- we were instructed not to send them any documents/evidence.------ in fact they wrote to us advising us to go to the Citizen's Advice Bureau.(CAB.)


Richard Alderman the SFO boss ---- who responded to our letter was the same man who would not investigate the “ Madoff” scandal or the “Libor” fiasco.

The MP's committee ---- said he was sloppy--- and the SFO was run like “ Fred Karno's Circus” ----- it was an office of fraud.----- so there.


Our M.P. approached our local Chief Constable to investigate----- he was called---- Sir Norman Bettison--- Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police ---- a force that made “ Dad's Army” look like the S.A.S. They were inept – corrupt ---malicious --- from top to bottom. We were criminally dealt with by the Forces Solicitor---- the Head of the Economic Crime Unit ----and the Chief Constable ----- so there.


We were then advised to pass our complaint against West Yorkshire Police to the I.P.C.C. – which we did --- they advised us to make our complaint to ---- the West Yorkshire Police --- we did with reluctance --- all we got was abuse and obfuscation. ----- so there.


Sir Norman Bettison ---- The Forces solicitor--- and the Head of the Economic Crime ---- have all been removed from their posts and facing criminal allegations.

------ so there.


We even sought justice through the Courts --- culminating in a visit to the Court of Appeal-London.--- On leaving the Courts of Appeal that day our barrister a “rising star” informed us --- that if that was Justice then you can keep it. He quit the law and moved to Canada ----- so there.


A few years later we learned that one of the judges in our case at the Court of Appeal was related to a senior executive of the Pictet Bank -----so there.


Pictet & Cie .Bank --- voted private bank of the year 2013.

Ivan Pictet ---- Voted banker of the year 2012. ---- the senior partner --- lied on numerous occasions and had documents destroyed --- also said genuine documents were forgeries. ----- so there.


Ivan Pictet in Oct. 2013 ---- Given the Legion of Honour --- but saying that ---- honours were given to Hitler --- Eichmann --- Mussolini ---Franco --- he's in fitting company. ----so there.


MONTY RAPHAEL.Q.C. -- Peters & Peters.London. They were the banks lawyers.

Monty Raphael.Q.C. along with Ivan Pictet withheld crucial documents requested by the High Court ---- the FSA ---- and the police Fraud Squad. ----so there.


Monty Raphael.Q.C. became an Honorary Queens Counsellor in March. 2012.

Monty Raphael.Q.C. became a Master of the Bench in Nov.2012.

An expert in Fraud ---the Doyen of Fraud Lawyers. ----- so there.


This says a lot about Banks --- the consensus of opinion is that they are highly paid “crooks” ---- no wonder they voted Ivan Pictet banker of the year.


It appears that crimes in the “establishment.” are honoured by their peers.

HONOURS AMONG THIEVES.”


Full Story.---- “google or Yahoo”


Insert.


Ivan Pictet.Banker.

Monty Raphael.Q.C.

Ivan Pictet/Monty Raphael.

ronethpier
ronethpier

can they still get there money? i mean can the american can take there money in the account or the money is lost?

AdriaandeLeeuw
AdriaandeLeeuw

Let us be blunt here! this situation has come about by rich Americans illegally sending their money to Swiss banks in an attempt to hide it from the IRS with MOST of these being US Residents, part of the US Trickle Down Economics set, get the money and Salt it away where taxation cannot get it! Been talking about this for decades, now all that needs to be done is that Businesses are dealt with in the same way!



chermignon
chermignon

Fact-check:  Categorizing Eritrea as "developed" is a stretch, but the U.S. isn't the only other country taxing its citizens on worldwide income:  Switzerland does the same thing.  As a dual national having resided in both countries, I get the tax burden in both directions, and, because of the Swiss system of taxing assets as well as revenue, less than a full tax credit on my U.S. return. Spent an hour this morning with the local Credit Suisse banker who insisted that I should not infer that I'm a tax dodger:  They're dumping all U.S. citizens, even those with the red passports too.  I've been disclosing my overseas accounts for all the years that I've had them.  After all, it's the (U.S.) law.  There are other options for bill-paying and frankly, I'm glad to be dismissed from the company of these potential jailbirds, both the tax-dodging clients and the bankers themselves.  Most of the Big Swiss Banks have a many-years history of participation in money-laundering, and now that the jig is up, they just have to have a scapegoat.  Bleat-bleat.

ElouiseSwanson
ElouiseSwanson

As Swiss inform hide-a-way bankers from America to place their profits back in U.S. banks... is one of the best medicines needed at this time. It's amazing how corporate Industries use others to help them grow and do all they can to avoid paying American taxes due. It's time for all of us to do as well as give our fair share. Who earns the right to be lazy, demanding baby-care as an adult all of one's life? Money Cares, facebook.com/elouise-timeline

AnthonyDewitt
AnthonyDewitt

What about the elephant in the room that no one seems to have seen. HOW IS IT THAT CITIZENS ARE FORCED TO PAY TAXES ON FOREIGN INCOME TWICE but AMERICAN CORPORATIONS dont have to pay any taxes and can hide all their income in foreign countries LEGALLY ?

Someone explain how that makes sense or tell me how that doesn't prove that Congress works for the corporations not the people.

mikefint
mikefint

Not much will change going forward! What people need to do is look for investments that meet the IRS compliance and to do this you need to speak to someone who deals in US clients and not a traditional bank!

Phil-Coates
Phil-Coates

Ah! The land of the free!


I don't see why the US should have double taxation for overseas Americans. Other nations do not. The US ex-pat pays taxes in their country of residence just as foreigners living and working in the US have to do. The US is wrong to impose taxation on overseas-based American citizens.

Hornfeld
Hornfeld

The real problem is: who are the people the IRS is trying to get?  The answer should be the several thousands of fatcats living IN the US who SEND their (unreported) funds abroad - to Switzerland and elsewhere - not the 7 million Americans who live abroad, many of whom work to help American companies export their goods, or help the US improve its image abroad, or who aid countries in dire straits.  We who live abroad - or worse, who are Americans by accident (born of US parents abroad, for example) - are penalized by the (lobby of?) rich Americans living IN the US!

pdavis68
pdavis68

Double-taxation is misleading. Americans are credited for taxes they pay abroad and there are other offsets besides that that reduce the tax burden. But roughly speaking, if you would have paid $10K in taxes in the U.S. and you pay $9K in taxes living abroad, your tax burden to the IRS is only $1000. That's a simplification, but that's the basic idea.

So it's not like you have to pay $9K abroad and then an additional $10K in the states. That would be real double-taxation.

WilliamSlawterSr.
WilliamSlawterSr.

Those who would leave America and give up their citizenship over the matter of taxes will not be missed.

When I hear the complaints over taxes I think of those who have given more than taxes, such as family and friends who have given their lives for us.

I hope those that quit America and leave enjoy their new countries.

abrokenmanonahalifaxpier
abrokenmanonahalifaxpier

The bigger question is: does the United States mean to encourage or discourage long-term residence of its citizens abroad, or is it indifferent? At the moment US tax policy (not through actual taxes paid, but through compliance burdens) tends to discourage it, but I think not on purpose.

I don't know - maybe there's a case for encouraging people who have lived abroad for decades to give up US citizenship, given that their ties will largely be outside the country after all that time. And if you want to do that, there are probably more deliberate and less passive-aggressive ways of doing it than piliing on tax-related administrative burdens.

(There's certainly a case for treating accidental citizens who never wanted US status in the first place more humanely - at the moment they need to prove five years of tax compliance to renounce.)

But it would be healthier to have the debate, even if some unhealthy things were said.

TwoCentThought
TwoCentThought

The US could fix this by adding one line to the effect:  Any financial institution that refuses service to an American citizen may not participate in any American market.  

FromPatriotToExPatriate
FromPatriotToExPatriate

Closing the accounts  of Americansabroad results in the confiscation of their assets. Note the effect of the account closing described in the quote:


"“This really ticks me off,” says Hornung-Soukup, who adds that the forced early withdrawal of her retirement fund meant she had to pay taxes on it earlier than she had anticipated."

Not only will she pay taxes earlier than anticipated, but  if mutual funds are involved, the investment may be treated as a PFIC under U.S. tax law meaning (depending on the length of the holding period) the taxation will mean confiscation. Google PFIC.

This article focuses on the banking problem which is very real. Only citizens of the "Land of the Free" are NOT free to have a bank account outside the U.S. But that aside, life as a U.S. citizen abroad subjects one to a terrifying tax and penalty regime that can't be understood without the help of lawyers/accountants. 

Its time for U.S. citizens abroad to realize they must either renounce their U.S. citizenship or move to the USA. The U.S. does NOT want it's citizens outside the U.S. FATCA and other regulations have created a legislative "iron curtain" with the clear intent of keeping U.S.citizens inside the U.S. and forcing those outside the U.S. to renounce their U.S. citizenship.

Those U.S. citizens who return to live in the U.S., should do so with the understanding that they will NOT be leaving again.

 

  






Lavrentii
Lavrentii

Are there not branches of American based banks in Switzerland and elsewhere abroad, such as B of A or Wells Fargo, that these people could do business with- i.e. get loans from, etc.?

Pope__Algore
Pope__Algore

If it's any consolation, you can be certain that Barack Obama and tax dodging Democrats like Timothy Geitner, John Kerry, and Charles Rangel all have overseas bank accounts so they can continue to evade taxes while demanding that YOU pay "your fair share".

LauriceM.Tatum
LauriceM.Tatum

It's unfortunate that all these comment don't touch or effect the real problem. Over spending on military and black budgets. Greed, selfishness, putting ones own desires ahead of the needs of others. 

FloydT
FloydT

FBI NICS statistics at November 30, 2013 show 3,029 renunciations since the beginning of 2013. Renunciation figures are collected by the FBI to comply with the Brady Act. Note that the FBI does not collect relinquishment statistics, which is a separate method to give up US citizenship. They are thought to be approximately the same as renunciations, i.e., around 6,000 Americans have given up their US citizenship in the first eleven months of 2013.

Mike.Stearns
Mike.Stearns

@AdriaandeLeeuw  Meh.  Americans are lazy.  The rest of the world already knows that.  Who can blame the rich for going along with what the rest of the world already knows?  There's a reason no other country taxes abroad like America does.  Way to go nationalism.  You can't be hard working while getting fat on McDonalds all the time.  lol

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@Phil-CoatesThe U.S. doesn't "double-tax" anyone.  U.S. citizens people in other countries have to pay U.S. taxes once.  The "double-tax" part comes from the fact they have to pay taxes on their income to the countries they live in, too.

If they don't want to pay U.S. taxes, great.  Renounce their citizenship.  That's all it takes.  Many in the story should have done that a long time ago since they had no plans to return to the U.S.

SwissTechie
SwissTechie

@notmyshametobear Indeed!  The US government donates billions of US tax dollars to non-Americans living on other nations such as Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Israel and Iraq, while treating its own citizens like disposable garbage who may be easily replaced with fresh immigrants.

SwissTechie
SwissTechie

@pdavis68Double-taxation is the case where one is taxed twice on the same income by two separate jurisdictions. What you described is a case of double-taxation, where two jurisdictions tax income twice.


To attempt to make your example of double-taxation a bit more fair, an individual who paid $11000 would have to be credited $1000 so that they would also only pay $10K like everyone else.  The US would thus not be able to tax its citizens more than $10K.  Also, an individual living in the US who was taxed $9K would have to be taxed an additional $1000 to be exported to some non-US jurisidiction.  So, if America wanted to be fair with double-taxation, then it would immediately abolish its current system and replace it with residency-based taxation like the rest of the world. 

ouflak
ouflak

@WilliamSlawterSr. 

There are plenty of people who have served their country in uniform, willing to give up their lives for that country, who are now Americans living abroad. Plenty. Whatever you say those people might have been fighting for, I'm fairly certain you can't say that any of them were fighting for unfair taxes on its own citizenry.

SwissTechie
SwissTechie

@WilliamSlawterSr. Dude, there is much more in the world than just taxes!  Is it prohibited for an American to think of things other than taxes?  With such a statement, it seems to make sense for Americans to renounce US citizenship simply to realize that life is not limited to taxes!


People are not "quitting America".  It is rather America which is quitting its citizens.

SwissTechie
SwissTechie

@abrokenmanonahalifaxpier No matter how long some individuals do not live in the US, they will always be tied to their American ancestry and American culture, regardless of citizenship.  The current situations means that some non-Americans may actually be more American than many Americans living in America!  There are some people living in American who are not very American at all, such as serial killers, terrorists, etc.  As such, location and taxation cannot be used as a means of defining citizenship.  Other factors must be taken into consideration.

SwissTechie
SwissTechie

@TwoCentThought Many banks don't participate in the American market and are happy to accept US clients, but are prohibited from doing so due to the costs and complications of US policy.

Barton
Barton

@TwoCentThought It's not really the banks' fault. The US government, through its unreasonable demands, makes it difficult for foreign banks to accept American clients. The simpler (and fairer) answer would be not to impose draconian, difficult-to-follow  regulations on foreign institutions, so their hands are not tied. In other words, treat the illness, not the symptoms. 


And, instead of going after ordinary, law-abiding expatriates, why doesn't the government go after and clamp down on shady corporate tax shelters in Delaware?

SwissTechie
SwissTechie

@FromPatriotToExPatriate Moving to the US may not be a good idea.  The US unemployment rate is not low, meaning that expats may take jobs away from stateside Americans.  Yet, expat skills may not be designed for the US market, causing them to have difficulty finding work.  Also, life in America is different from living abroad and expats may miss what they left behind.

SwissTechie
SwissTechie

@Lavrentii To my knowledge GE Money Bank is the only American bank which offers a savings account in Switzerland, yet, their customer service told me that they reject American clients.  VA and HUD also do not assist Americans living outside of US jurisdiction.  Basically, Americans living abroad are taxed without representation, discriminated against by US policy in violation of US federal laws prohibiting national origin discrimination and the US government turns its back to them when they need help.  Thus, it has become an American patriotic honor to renounce US citizenship.

FromPatriotToExPatriate
FromPatriotToExPatriate

@Pope__Algore 

It's not just that "tax dodging democrats" who don't pay their fair share. It's obvious that U.S. residents as a group don't pay their fair share. If the stats are to be believed, under the current tax rules, 50% of U.S. residents don't pay Federal tax. Yet, somehow it's okay for the U.S. to come after Americans abroad.

Really, it's time for the average taxpayer resident in the U.S. to start paying their fair share!

 

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

@LauriceM.Tatum  So true, our largest opportunity for budget cuts is in defense, but they've just gutted the sequester, so kiss that idea goodbye.

ouflak
ouflak

@DeweySayenoff

Ummm... no. A U.S. citizen is required to file tax returns just as if they were living in the United States every-single-year plus they are now required to file atleast 3 other forms, and typically a fourth form on top of that. And this is irrespective of whether they would even have to owe taxes to IRS. I'm not sure where you got 'once' from, but I guarantee you didn't get that false notion from the IRS. Look it up on their website. If you make over a certain amount of money, you pay taxes on it AGAIN, even if you have already paid taxes on it in your country of residence, even if you have lived outside the U.S. for years, even if you have NEVER been in the United States and are only born with U.S. citizenship. And you will do this for the rest of your life unless and until you are no longer a citizen.

It's perhaps easy for you to just toss your U.S. citizenship aside, but for many of us, we are very proud of our heritage and do not wish to give up that most precious connection to our identity. It is not fair that laws meant to be targeting the wealthy are making life nearly impossible for those of far more modest means (no bank account???). And it's not fair to those who actually are residents of the United States. Millions of Americans living abroad qualify under the current laws to pay absolutely nothing. Yet for each and every single one of those individuals there is a far more bureaucratic policy in place for each and every single return, literally a multiple of that required by U.S. residents, as well as added bureaucracy concerning any financial institution they have dealings with, all for nothing, absolutely no tax revenue. The cost/waste here must be in the tens of millions in just paying people to process these useless forms.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@SwissTechie@WilliamSlawterSr.It is people who would rather have less taxes and not pay America her due who are quitting America.  I have no sympathy for them.  If you don't like the way America taxes its citizens, renounce your citizenship. You will not be missed by choosing your money over your country.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@SwissTechie@abrokenmanonahalifaxpierActually, serial killers and terrorists are quintessential American traits, especially since "terrorists" dumped tea into Boston Harbor, so seems to me your invidious comparisons lack merit.

If Americans want to not pay American taxes, renounce your citizenship and ship out.  Most other countries have mandatory military or public service for their citizens, while America doesn't (it hasn't for 40 years).  In fact, most other countries have much more difficult-to-get citizenship rules than America does and some places require that a parent be a citizen before any citizenship is granted even if they're born in the country.

Birthright citizenship is a double-edged sword in that respect.  But here's the thing: If you want to call yourself an American, you have to pay for it one way or another.

TwoCentThought
TwoCentThought

@SwissTechie @TwoCentThought Please tell me the names of two or three banks in Switzerland that do not invest in any American Markets.   If they truly exist they would have no reason to obey the US government as the US would have no way to retaliate. 

TwoCentThought
TwoCentThought

@BartonI disagree I believe it is the banks fault. I blame UBS they misbehaved by helping hide the assets of billionaires.  They were fined and paid over 700 million Swiss francs because of their actions now the US government puts safeguards in place to make sure they won't try it again.  And they they retaliate by discriminating against all Americans.  Block them from American markets until the discrimination stops. 

FromPatriotToExPatriate
FromPatriotToExPatriate

@CarlLegg@FloydTI remember in the early 70s, GM was comfortable because the number of people buying Toyotas was "statistically insignificant". There is a saying that "the trend is your friend".


SwissTechie
SwissTechie

@CarlLegg@FloydTThe point is that many stateside Americans honor government dishonesty. Don't believe your government since you don't want for it to be honest.  It feeds you the misinformation that you seek to hear.

Barton
Barton

@CarlLegg @FloydT The point is that the numbers are growing. In 2008, there were only a few hundred renunciations, but as the US government creates more and more difficulties for Americans living abroad, the number of people giving up citizenship is increasing in response to this abuse. It's cause and effect. Honestly, if you live in a nice country like Switzerland, have a Swiss passport, and will never go back to live in America, why would you keep the citizenship and subject yourself to all the problems?


ouflak
ouflak

@DeweySayenoff

Less taxes??? Do you know what the tax rate for people living in Europe compared to people living in the U.S. is? Crazy! I don't know where you have gotten your information, but a simple Google search would clear a lot of your misconceptions up quickly.

Hey I'm fine with the way America taxes its citizens,... until it comes to being double taxed unfairly. Until it comes to wasteful procedures applied to millions of honest Americans which won't even produce a penny of tax revenue. Then I'm not so fine with it. I won't be renouncing my citizenship. But that doesn't mean I agree to go along with unfair, wasteful tax burden. No American should agree to that. Not one.

SwissTechie
SwissTechie

@TwoCentThought @SwissTechie Check Category 2 in the US "Program".  Most of the banks listed there have little or nothing to do with the US and they have near no US clients.  They joined that category, though, with the hope of quickly getting the US off of their backs since American harassment discourages financial stability.

Barton
Barton

@TwoCentThought @SwissTechie It depends on how you define participation in the American market. If a foreign bank does nothing else in the US but only purchases a US stock for a client,, it is, for all ends and purposes, doing business there. So it is impossible to avoid exposure to the US (or another international) market, especially in today's global landscape.

ouflak
ouflak

@DeweySayenoff

"To avoid paying U.S. taxes, you don't live in the U.S. and you don't hold the ability to work here (like being a citizen or holding a green card). "


This is not the law. This has never been the law. What you are saying is what naturally SHOULD BE THE CASE. It is not the case with IRS and it has gotten worse! I understand your naivety on this matter. It seems so obvious that taxation based on residency is how things must work. And for every other in the world except the United States and Eritrea, what you've said is true.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@SwissTechie Jesus, Techie, you certainly are  thought-challenged, aren't you?  A country can do to its citizens whatever the citizens approve of.  That's called "self determination" and is America's gift to the world.  There is no discrimination involved at all.  If you CAN pay taxes to the U.S., then you pay taxes to the U.S.  What's discriminatory about that?

To avoid paying U.S. taxes, you don't live in the U.S. and you don't hold the ability to work here (like being a citizen or holding a green card).  It's not rocket science here.

Oh, and by the way, the government can't be a "federal criminal" because the laws that are being enacted have been ruled constitutional (back in 2009 when they were challenged) and it's a federal law they're complying with in the first place.

Please, if you're going to make ridiculous claims like that, remember that there are those of us who actually have the ability to reason and the guts to call out people who don't.  Just because you believe something to be true doesn't mean it is.

The thing that irritates me the most is that very few of the people who complain about their taxes have done anything FOR their country than be born here.  I don't see that as a benefit to the nation.

SwissTechie
SwissTechie

@TwoCentThought, The discrimination is the result of US policy and US federal laws prohibit national discrimination.  So, instead of blaming banks for American crimes, America needs to write its policy in such a manner that it doesn't cause discrimination.  It is incorrect to blame banks for responding to American crimes.  


The American government must be blamed and condemned for every single American living abroad who is harmed by American national origin discrimination crimes.  Your government is a federal criminal. 

Barton
Barton

@TwoCentThought @Barton  Yes, UBS screwed up big time, but there are dozens of smaller, regional banks that did nothing wrong and yet are impacted by FATCA. The bigger issue here is   whether the US government is acting fairly by requiring that American citizens who work, live , and generate their income abroad, disclose their foreign assets to the IRS.


A distinction should be made between US-based residents who have offshore accounts that should be declared and taxed in America (since their income is generated there), and those who live and work overseas, and whose hard-earned money is none of the IRS' business.

FloydT
FloydT

@FromPatriotToExPatriate@CarlLegg

Renunciations in Switzerland have skyrocketed from 180 in 2011 to 900 in 2012, according to Swissinfo.ch, citing information from the US Ambassador and American Citizens Abroad. The US Embassy in Berne has not released figures for 2013 but informal reports suggest that renunciations have been brisk.