Help! Double US/BE: My bank wants to close my account?

Hello,

I'm Belgian and have only been born in the USA. I never lived, studied or worked there.

My bank has notified me that because I am a US Citizen (they say I am just because I was born there) I am supposed to pay taxes in the USA and because they can not comply with US law they have to close my bank account. I have 30 days to move to another bank. Apparently they have the right to do this.

No one ever told me because I was born in the US I had to pay taxes in the US. I pay taxes in Belgium and find that to be plenty!

I can't change the place I was born, can anyone tell me what to do?

What nationality are you? If you're Belgian and not American, well then go in to the bank and prove it and your account won't be closed. If you're American, you'd already know you have to declare your taxes there every year, whether you live in the USA or abroad.  There are many European banks closing the bank accounts of US nationals, due to this recent US legislation.

schoolmum :

If you're American, you'd already know you have to declare your taxes there every year, whether you live in the USA or abroad.  There are many European banks closing the bank accounts of US nationals, due to this recent US legislation.

No, no one ever told me. I never lived in the USA, the only thing is I was born there. The Embassy never informed me, no one ever told me. How would I "already know you have to declare your taxes there every year" ???

I didn't choose to be born there, but it turns out being born in the USA is a nuisance. I read I can renounce, and that's what I will do, just to get rid of the nuisance.

I really don't think it's up to national governments to inform their nationals of all laws, rules and regulations, at some point an individual national needs to take personal responsibility. I assume you are therefore a US national.

schoolmum :

I really don't think it's up to national governments to inform their nationals of all laws, rules and regulations, at some point an individual national needs to take personal responsibility. I assume you are therefore a US national.

I'm sure you don't mean that at 6 months old, when my parents took me back home with them, I needed to check the rules and regulations in the US?

I don't feel I have any responsibility towards the US, I was just born there! I have always had a Belgian passport and ID. So please explain me, why do foreign banks in foreign countries systematically have to refuse people that were born in the US?

My bank closes my account just on the basis that on my Belgian ID my "geboorteplaats" is "Chicago". And the only way they will allow me to keep my bank account is if I provide a paper from the Embassy that I renounced my birth country. They say they would technically even have to close my wife's account (she was born in Gent, just because she's married to me being born in the US they say they would technically need to close her account too).
I inquired with a number of banks, they all say no thank you, all the administration we have to do because you were born in the US, and the potential penalties the US puts on us if we don't get it right, would cost us too much, so we don't want you. Just 1 bank? No: Rabobank, Fortuneo, Keytradebank, Fintro, Argenta, Deutschebank, BKCP all said the exact same: no, we refuse to open an account to people that were born in the US, regardless of their nationality. Other banks pose a restriction on the type of account you can open (i.e. refusal to their basic banking packages, only access to a very expensive account): KBC, BNP Fortis, Belfius.

And about sooner or later checking regulations, well, thanks to my bank I know I can renounce, and will do so specifically on the grounds that being born in the US is a serious limitation to my freedom in my country.

Have you tried to contact a US Bank? Sure your embassy can give you a couple of names. In Brussels we have banks from all over the world, the other day I saw a Chinese bank .... sure there are at least two or three US branches. Honestly, nowadays with internet you can have a life with online banking, no need of traditional banks, of course they are still needed for the elderly and old-fashioned people.

As regards taxes, you'd better seek legal assistance. Even if you get rid of your US nationality, one day you can be handcuffed and taken out of a plane if flying through an US airport or through US airspace, it sounds paranoia but US enforcement agencies are full of mad people.

Are you a US national yes or no???? This is different from do you have a US passport yes or no? The crucial point is if you have US nationality.

You cannot renounce a country of birth, only a nationality!

If you are a US national, it is YOUR responsibility to know the implications of this. It is completely irrelevant where you were born, how long you lived in the US, there are many US nationals born abroad, some of which will have never set foot in the US, however all US nationals have to file taxes. I know that, I'm not even American!

If you are NOT a US national, then go to your bank and explain you are NOT. No problem, they cannot close your account.

Banks all over the EU are systematically closing the bank accounts of US nationals because they do not want to comply with the obligation to pass on data about the bank accounts of US nationals which is about / has been passed, it's not the bank's fault, they have  choice to comply or not, obviously the hassle of complying means many banks have chosen the easier option. There ARE banks there which still accept US nationals, go and find one if you are a US national.

As you have not stated your nationality, other than Belgian , it's difficult to advise further.

Hello,

Im US citizen too, i also live here in Brussels. Im having the same problems with the banks but BNP Fortis made me signed a couple of forms i think is  form-1090 and a couple of other docs and that I am prohibited to do any transaction with any US financial institution. I work from home as trader and the only online bank that accepted me is Fortuneo.be which also made me signed a paper that also prohibited to do any transaction with Wall st.  S&P, NASDAQ etc etc.
All this is frorced by US regulations and a law named FACTA i think.

Best regards

Just a quick note. It costs $2350 to renounce now. The US raised the rate when tons of Expats started jumping ship. I am seriously considering it but need to wait until I can find out if I am eligible for Belgian citizenship. I just needed to sign a couple forms my bank sent and I kept my account. Yes you are supposed to REPORT your income. There is a credit for taxation from foreign income and there is a cap of almost $100,000 on "creditable" income. The issues for me is if I buy the half of the house I'm living in with my girlfriend that she has already paid half of, then sell at a later date "WE" are taxed on capitol gain and she isn't a US citizen just common law married to one.

I think in reality it is the bank that do not want to risk giving access to its computer files with certain US "administrations"...

The Belgian laws are clear. When a parent is Belgian, you automatically get the Belgian nationality. However, when you are born in a foreign country, in your majority, you have the right to choose between the Belgian nationilité or nationality of your country of birth.

So IMHO, if you do not have anything to do with your theoretical dual nationality, renounces about it officially.

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