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Old 29.02.2012, 22:21
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U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

I just got a rejection letter from Cornèr Bank concerning my application for a 3. Säule (3rd pillar pension) account. The reason? Being a U.S. citizen.

Thanks to greedy fat cats and tax dodgers who have been stowing billions in secret Swiss accounts it has now become almost impossible for honest tax paying citizens to find a Swiss bank who will accept U.S. clients for 3rd pillar accounts.

The Swiss banks are simply afraid of dealing with the IRS, or simply could not be bothered going through the paperwork. Great, and now? U.S. expats cannot deduct a 3rd pillar contribution off their Swiss taxes?!

Are there any U.S. citizens who have successfully applied for a 3. Säule account? and if so, where?

I'm frankly disgusted that a U.S. passport is now a one way ticket for becoming a Swiss banking pariah.

Rant over.

Last edited by ElJeFe; 29.02.2012 at 22:23. Reason: syntax
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Old 29.02.2012, 22:44
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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I just got a rejection letter from Cornèr Bank concerning my application for a 3. Säule (3rd pillar pension) account. The reason? Being a U.S. citizen.

Thanks to greedy fat cats and tax dodgers who have been stowing billions in secret Swiss accounts it has now become almost impossible for honest tax paying citizens to find a Swiss bank who will accept U.S. clients for 3rd pillar accounts.

The Swiss banks are simply afraid of dealing with the IRS, or simply could not be bothered going through the paperwork. Great, and now? U.S. expats cannot deduct a 3rd pillar contribution off their Swiss taxes?!

Are there any U.S. citizens who have successfully applied for a 3. Säule account? and if so, where?

I'm frankly disgusted that a U.S. passport is now a one way ticket for becoming a Swiss banking pariah.

Rant over.
Try Swiss post finance......
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Old 29.02.2012, 22:46
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

There was another poster (Drmom) who also complained just yesterday that a bank here wouldn't open accounts for her children because of their US citizenship. There are more and more experiences like this.

The banks are scared of FATCA, which will soon take effect (2013 or 14) which will, in effect, turn foreign banks into tax collectors for the IRS. So, now many of these banks refuse to comply and are turning away US citizens as customers. I can only strongly urge you to contact American Citizens Abroad and tell them what's happened to you since they have been very active in lobbying for either repeal of FATCA or exemption for US expats.

http://www.aca.ch/joomla/index.php

And while you're at it, PLEASE sign the petition to Repeal FATCA:
http://signon.org/sign/repeal-fatca?...ailing_id=1763

Congresswoman Caroline Maloney is also lobbying on behalf of US expats. Get in touch with her office and tell them your story.

We are under attack. There's even talk of eliminating the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, which will force all of us to pay taxes in our countries of residence as well as to the US.

If we don't stand up for our rights, they will be taken away from us.
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Old 29.02.2012, 23:52
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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There's even talk of eliminating the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, which will force all of us to pay taxes in our countries of residence as well as to the US.
That's when I immediately hand in my passport and renounce my U.S. citizenship.
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Old 01.03.2012, 00:26
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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Are there any U.S. citizens who have successfully applied for a 3. Säule account? and if so, where?

Another vote for PostFinance. There was no problem at all opening the 3a account. Of course, other banks have better rates.

I did have to sign an extra document last year when I opened my private account there, confirming that I was aware of FACTA and FBAR and would comply with the reporting requirements.
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Old 01.03.2012, 05:31
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

Let's be fair - this has little to do with the "greedy fatcats hiding billions" that you refer to. Rather, this has to do with a greedy, overreaching and hyper-aggressive government deciding to impose heavy costs on foreign-owned and operated banks.

Given how the American government is acting, it's no surprise whatsoever that Swiss banks don't want to touch us.
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Old 01.03.2012, 08:25
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

I am in the process of opening accounts for the kids at Post Finance. Raiffeisen rejected us even though we already have 3 (or more?) accounts with them...New policy as of last week apparently. Anyways, the woman at the Post Office is SO nice and doing it for me (I live in a small town and they know me...) and I am thinking maybe we should move our normal everyday account to them. After all, you can do all your banking in English with them on their website!
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Old 02.03.2012, 00:25
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

Thanks for your responses everyone. I'll go check out Postfinance. Still pretty pissed off though....
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Old 02.03.2012, 01:11
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

UBS worked for us
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Old 02.03.2012, 06:34
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

Switzerland is being called America's 53rd state due to the banking issue, check this out...
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Old 02.03.2012, 10:37
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

And who are being called the 51st and 52nd States?
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Old 04.03.2012, 09:52
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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Another vote for PostFinance. There was no problem at all opening the 3a account. Of course, other banks have better rates.

I did have to sign an extra document last year when I opened my private account there, confirming that I was aware of FACTA and FBAR and would comply with the reporting requirements.
1) WTF. Sorry, but FATCA is purely a "problem" for banks. It is not something the US person should really care about. It means added paperwork for the bank, they need to know their customers (KYC), which they should anyway. So I really do not understand all this fuss about FATCA. The noise being made about FATCA is merely an amplification of big banks who are whining for having to do extra paperwork.

2) And yes, it is nice that banks are informing their US customers about FBAR nowadays. These reporting requirements (by US persons) have been in place for years and if you read your 1040 forms correctly when filing, you'd have done them all along. Now wouldn't it have been nice if as a *service* to their US customers, the banks simply sent you a completed FBAR (prefilled) - or a blank one (if they are lazy)?

3) I'm afraid I have to disagree with the prior posting regarding "another vote for Postfinance". They have been completely incompetent in handling US persons, which explains why they are on the "hit list" of 11 banks under investigation.
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Old 04.03.2012, 09:56
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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Are there any U.S. citizens who have successfully applied for a 3. Säule account? and if so, where?

I'm frankly disgusted that a U.S. passport is now a one way ticket for becoming a Swiss banking pariah.

Rant over.
Actually I am wondering if it makes sense to make a 3a investment. My Swiss tax accountant advised me against it, since it would lower my US foreign income tax credit, and I'd be paying US income tax on gains every year in any case, in addition to CH tax upon withdrawal. Now why my Swiss banks - knowing I was US - did not advise me of the same baffles me. This outright refusal to offer you a 3a, might just be in your interest!
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Old 04.03.2012, 12:35
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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1) WTF. Sorry, but FATCA is purely a "problem" for banks. It is not something the US person should really care about. It means added paperwork for the bank, they need to know their customers (KYC), which they should anyway. So I really do not understand all this fuss about FATCA. The noise being made about FATCA is merely an amplification of big banks who are whining for having to do extra paperwork.
That extra paperwork represents huge costs to the banks/financial institutions. So the question naturally arises: are US customers worth the extra costs and liability? In most cases, no. A bank might be able to justify those costs for (U)HNW clients, but the typical American customer simply doesn't bring in enough revenue to make a business case for jumping through the FATCA hoops and doing all the 'extra paperwork'.

A US person should indeed care - because this is yet another thing that makes it increasingly difficult/costly for Americans to do business overseas. American companies are saddled with a pretty big handicap against their competition.
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Old 04.03.2012, 13:28
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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1) WTF. Sorry, but FATCA is purely a "problem" for banks. It is not something the US person should really care about. It means added paperwork for the bank, they need to know their customers (KYC), which they should anyway. So I really do not understand all this fuss about FATCA. The noise being made about FATCA is merely an amplification of big banks who are whining for having to do extra paperwork.
FATCA, as I understand it, requires me to file Form 8938 with my return if I meet the criteria here.
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Old 04.03.2012, 23:38
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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FATCA, as I understand it, requires me to file Form 8938 with my return if I meet the criteria here.
Actually that's only part (a small part) of it. The IRS just issued the latest proposed rules for banks on 8 Feb., and it is planned to be implemented on 1 Jan. 2013 (major first step). I predict most US persons will be getting a lot of paperwork or notices of closing accounts from banks toward the end of this year.
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Old 04.03.2012, 23:53
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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Thanks for your responses everyone. I'll go check out Postfinance. Still pretty pissed off though....
So go an get angry with your government....no-one in Switzerland made these rules......
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Old 05.03.2012, 05:20
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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1) WTF. Sorry, but FATCA is purely a "problem" for banks. It is not something the US person should really care about. It means added paperwork for the bank, they need to know their customers (KYC), which they should anyway. So I really do not understand all this fuss about FATCA. The noise being made about FATCA is merely an amplification of big banks who are whining for having to do extra paperwork.
Whining, really? Ensuring FATCA compliance easily costs millions, and while that's not such a problem for the big banks, it can hit the little banks pretty hard.

Look at it another way: if Switzerland made a law stating that all financial institutions worldwide had to report back with information on Swiss citizens, how do you suppose a savings and loan over in southern Wisconsin would react? They'd think it was nonsense, of course. But the US has the capability to impose a significant penalty on foreign companies, so they get away with it.... And the banks take the only logical step of dropping all US customers. They don't make enough off of us retail customers to be worth the added costs.
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Old 05.03.2012, 10:04
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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Whining, really? Ensuring FATCA compliance easily costs millions, and while that's not such a problem for the big banks, it can hit the little banks pretty hard.

Look at it another way: if Switzerland made a law stating that all financial institutions worldwide had to report back with information on Swiss citizens, how do you suppose a savings and loan over in southern Wisconsin would react? They'd think it was nonsense, of course. But the US has the capability to impose a significant penalty on foreign companies, so they get away with it.... And the banks take the only logical step of dropping all US customers. They don't make enough off of us retail customers to be worth the added costs.
The banks should bill the US Treasury for the extra work; that is how capitalism works.
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Old 05.03.2012, 10:08
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Re: U.S. citizens & 3. Säule (3rd pillar) - where to apply!?

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Whining, really? Ensuring FATCA compliance easily costs millions, and while that's not such a problem for the big banks, it can hit the little banks pretty hard.

Look at it another way: if Switzerland made a law stating that all financial institutions worldwide had to report back with information on Swiss citizens, how do you suppose a savings and loan over in southern Wisconsin would react? They'd think it was nonsense, of course. But the US has the capability to impose a significant penalty on foreign companies, so they get away with it.... And the banks take the only logical step of dropping all US customers. They don't make enough off of us retail customers to be worth the added costs.
About "the banks take the only logical step of dropping all US customers"

I wonder if this was the plan or is the law of "unintended effects" in action?

Maybe Americans in Switzerland should ask their employer to go back to the old method of payment in cash.
After all there is practically no interest on Swiss bank accounts & the cost of a decent safe is probably covered by having no bank charges.
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