Friday, May 15, 2015

Not opening a bank account as an expat

"Can my husband, who is American, open an account here?" I asked my favorite teller, the one with the multi-colored nails, where I have my business and a savings account.

Her smile disappeared.

"Maybe, maybe not." She lowered one hand to her thighs and raised the other as for over her head as it would go. "So much paper work and it still might not work."

For a starter he needed a permis B, the right to live in Switzerland, and his passport. Then he needed five years of FBar copies. The Fbar is the form where expats have to list all their bank accounts if they have $10,000 or more. If they don't the fine is 50% of the balance for each year the Fbar wasn't filed, which meant if Rick had been living in Switzerland, hadn't filed his Fbar for five years, he would owe the IRS $25,000.

"But he didn't need to file FBars. He was living in the States. Americans living in their home country don't file Fbars," I said. They do if they have accounts outside the US, but he wasn't.

The list went on for what we needed. 

"After we do all that we have to send all the information to our headquarters and they will rule if he can have an account." She added that she wasn't optimistic that they would allow it.

"And if he is added to my account?"

"Same thing."

I told her I was no fan of banks, except co-ops like this bank, but I didn't blame them. The fines for not reporting an American account can mean up to 30% of all their US profits plus being shut out of the international banking system.

She expressed her sorrow along with her belief that Americans are crazy.

Her nails are still beautiful.

3 comments:

James Wattengel said...

Nitpick: Homelanders do have to file FBARs if they have accounts of with more than $10,000 outside the US

James Wattengel said...

Nitpick: Homelanders do have to file FBARs if they have accounts of with more than $10,000 outside the US

DL NELSON said...

Thanks James, you're right. I amended the blog. I wonder how many know.