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  #21  
Old 19.05.2012, 05:39
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

You really don't get it, do you. The US doesn't start from nil. It already collects from 99% of the taxable expat base. By going after the 1% it will alienate the 99% (because much less US citizens will want to work abroad if they have to be paid in beads and trinkets iso on a bank account). The remaining 1% will go to friendly tax jurisdictions (I almost said Delaware), get another passport and dump the US one.

I let you do the NPV of future US tax earnings... Let me know how it goes.


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  #22  
Old 19.05.2012, 07:43
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

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...

My advice to US citizens, or anyone else in Switzerland who is taxable in the US, is to avoid Migrosbank. It's not worth the effort.
Ironically, the advice to many banks is to ignore US citizens as the ignorant, stupid, moronic, idiotic, arrogant US compliance laws make it not worth the effort.
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  #23  
Old 19.05.2012, 09:17
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

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Ironically, the advice to many banks is to ignore US citizens as the ignorant, stupid, moronic, idiotic, arrogant US compliance laws make it not worth the effort.
pretty much this.

the banks are having to spend millions on projects to enable the reporting capabilities needed by the US govt. If one considers the IT ramifications of having to redesign systems to do what the US govt asks, i can well imagine it would be easier and more profitable for some banks to just say "fuhgetaboutit" and lose those assets under management instead of going thru the cost of making themselves compliant in an "ever moving goal post" type regulatory environment. Indeed, FATCA compliance, and the EU's Foreign Withhold Tax regulations (sort of the same thing but for germany to fight "schwarzgeld" here) are part of the reasons why the banks are having such issues at the moment.

the part that is so bitter about all this to me, is there are those of us who spent YEARS learning other cultures, languages, trying to get/applying for jobs, countless transatlantic flights etc etc to ESCAPE THE FREAKIN US and build our lives in a saner, rational, more peaceful society, only to have uncle sam's tentacles still find a way to sneak into our wallets and take our money earned abroad!

And then, one hears how GE or other huge multinationals who make billions in sales and employ tens of thousands of workers in the US pay less taxes than i do, and i dont even live there anymore... and... and... its enough to make you hyperventilate.

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  #24  
Old 19.05.2012, 10:10
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

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Migrosbank has notified its American customers in Switzerland that it will only continue its banking services for them if they sign an IRS W-9 form; the W-9 form is a required document for US citizens owning US securities, such as stocks or bonds of US companies. Providing the US citizen agrees to sign, then, in addition to the current account or savings account that the customer actually wants, Migrosbank will open a securities account and purchase one share of General Electric stock, with the customer's money charging normal fees. Migrosbank will also require the US citizen customer to sign a document relinquishing his/her rights under Swiss bank customer privacy laws.

I have had a rental deposit account at Migrosbank for years and have been notified to sign the W-9 and the second document described or they will close the account. Since I only have a rental deposit account there, it makes no sense for me to continue with Migrosbank.

My advice to US citizens, or anyone else in Switzerland who is taxable in the US, is to avoid Migrosbank. It's not worth the effort.
So which bank will you/did you sign up with that has better conditions for Americans.
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  #25  
Old 19.05.2012, 11:19
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

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Sorry but how exactly does making Americans abroad pay taxes to the US Government "ultimately hurt the US economy"?. If they weren't paying before since they were abroad, and now have to, means more dollars for the Federal coffers, and thus more money for using in the US for whatever spending programs, that generate money for the economy. It's a no-brainer, if a bit buccaneering.
First of all, most of us are indeed already paying taxes to the US. Don't believe the soundbites you hear in the media - most Americans resident overseas are indeed tax compliant. And the 1% pay a large chunk o' change to Uncle Sam, even when using their perfectly legal tax optimization options. The huge numbers of tax-dodging expats is something of a media myth. Sure some exist, but not in the numbers Joe Sixpack thinks. I'll say it again - most Americans overseas are tax compliant.

I know that even with my deduction for taxes paid to Switzerland I pay more to the US than a good percentage of US resident tax payers. (And receive no services for my pains... but that's another discussion.) Heck, giving up and going back home would mean that I would actually pay less tax.

It is these compliant, honest American citizens who are getting hurt in the wake of FATCA.

Secondly, it's getting harder and harder for Americans to work overseas, not only from the standpoint of obtaining necessary banking services, but also many companies are reluctant to hire Americans these days due to US overreach. Smaller US firms are finding the fol-de-rol around FATCA compliance too complicated to consider overseas expansion. Without Americans living and working overseas - selling US products, promoting US interests, creating US-based jobs, acting as ad-hoc ambassadors for Uncle Sam - the US economy suffers. The US economy needs the world economy. Today more than ever.

Given it's economic doldrums, the US powers-that-be need to be opening up, promoting the free movement of talent, winning hearts and minds. Making it too expensive and painful to do business with the United States is, as a previous poster mentioned, throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

.

Last edited by meloncollie; 20.05.2012 at 14:04.
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  #26  
Old 19.05.2012, 23:32
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

Below is a draft letter to the US Ambassador in Bern alerting him to Americans growing concerns about obtaining ordinary banking services in Switzerland. Please feel free to use it as is or adapt it.
----------------------------------------------------

Honorable Donald S. Beyer, Jr.
US Embassy
Sulgeneckstrasse 19
CH-3007 Berne, Switzerland

Subject: Availability of Retail Banking Services to Americans in Switzerland

Dear Ambassador Beyer:

In the eyes of the 40,000 Americans who live in Switzerland, how you handle their ability to obtain ordinary banking services may be the defining point of your ambassadorship in Switzerland. As you are probably aware, the new draconian FATCA law as well as the recent indictment of Bank Wegelin have had a chilling effect on the availability of retail banking services to Americans living here. Consider:

1) Aargauische Kantonalbank: the bank will no longer offer any services to US Persons and is in the process of cancelling all US Person accounts.
2) PostFinance: this government-owned banking institution has applied for permission to exclude certain categories of people from having to offer them services. According to a newspaper, this charter change will be used to exclude Americans, although the PostFinance’s charter requires them to offer banking services to anyone with a connection to Switzerland.
3) Migrosbank: this bank will continue to offer banking services to Americans so long as they also set up a brokerage account, purchase one share of GE stock and, by doing so, sign and submit a W-9 form, since they own a US security. There will obviously be costs associated with maintaining the undesired but required brokerage account.

American expatriates, especially long-term expats with knowledge of the country, can provide valuable information to US authorities on suspicious activities involving terrorism, Mafia activities, Iran sanction circumvention, etc. On the other hand, if the US government alientates them because of overreaching US laws, they can also and may increasingly turn their back on the US authorities.

Your concrete efforts to improve American citizens’ ability to continue to obtain basic banking will be appreciated and your success in this area may be how the 40,000 Americans in Switzerland judge you, the Embassy and the Federal government going forward.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
(Signature)
(Name)
Date:
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  #27  
Old 21.05.2012, 10:45
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

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I didn't think that Americans living abroad HAD congressmen/women.... or senators.
True, there is no direct representation. Furthermore, some do and some don't have congressmen. (see below)

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You register to vote where you had your last US address so I would assume that those are also the representatives and senators you would write to...
This works only if you once lived in the U.S., depends on applicable state law. For about half of the states (28), they don't recognise a child born abroad, therefore said child, upon reaching 18, does not have the right to vote. In ther other states (22), they recognise the child's residence as the parent's last residence in the U.S.

Last edited by runningdeer; 21.05.2012 at 11:17.
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  #28  
Old 21.05.2012, 12:36
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

I'd say US citizens rather than Americans, were I to send this. And my question is, does the Ambassador care how US citizens here judge him? How does that impact his position? But writing to him is a good idea, nevertheless.

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Below is a draft letter to the US Ambassador in Bern alerting him to Americans growing concerns about obtaining ordinary banking services in Switzerland. Please feel free to use it as is or adapt it.
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  #29  
Old 21.05.2012, 13:24
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

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I'd say US citizens rather than Americans, were I to send this. And my question is, does the Ambassador care how US citizens here judge him? How does that impact his position? But writing to him is a good idea, nevertheless.
This also concerns US permanent residents. So maybe expand that to. But I think I'd leave out that paragraph about having knowledge of terrorists.
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Old 21.05.2012, 13:28
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

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This is very sad indeed...America is "throwing the baby out with the bath water," so to speak. I only use my Swiss passport and NEVER use my American passport except when going to USA. However, I am considering giving up my USA blue book in the coming years, not just because of the tax situations but for a number of reasons.

The gentleman from Facebook, Eduardo Saverin, who recently gave up his US citizenship, well, the politicos in the USA are starting to make a big stink about it. The article is here.
I read somewhere that the US government is now looking into folks who give up US citizenship and if they even think you are doing for tax reasons, will ban you from ever entering US borders again. Yikes!!
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Old 21.05.2012, 14:21
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

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I read somewhere that the US government is now looking into folks who give up US citizenship and if they even think you are doing for tax reasons, will ban you from ever entering US borders again. Yikes!!
This isn't new. If you are giving up your US citizenship it's highly encouraged to say anything but that you are doing so for tax reasons.
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  #32  
Old 21.05.2012, 14:23
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

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I read somewhere that the US government is now looking into folks who give up US citizenship and if they even think you are doing for tax reasons, will ban you from ever entering US borders again. Yikes!!

Beware of the media hype and a few looney's out there. The Reed Amendment exists but it has never been enforced, as even those highest in the gov't have spoken of how it is unconstitutional and would not hold up in court. It has gotten renewed interest due to the Saverin case, and a few are bringing it up again, but if it is now suddenly enforced, it will likely create more mess than it would ever solve.
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  #33  
Old 21.05.2012, 15:10
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

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pretty much this.

the banks are having to spend millions on projects to enable the reporting capabilities needed by the US govt. If one considers the IT ramifications of having to redesign systems to do what the US govt asks, i can well imagine it would be easier and more profitable for some banks to just say "fuhgetaboutit" and lose those assets under management instead of going thru the cost of making themselves compliant in an "ever moving goal post" type regulatory environment. Indeed, FATCA compliance, and the EU's Foreign Withhold Tax regulations (sort of the same thing but for germany to fight "schwarzgeld" here) are part of the reasons why the banks are having such issues at the moment.
Which is why it is important for every single expat to write their congressional representative and senators about the impacts these laws are having on them.

Laws are made, but it doesn't mean they are made with all the facts, and they are easily flawed. It's not at all uncommon for US law to be made in a vacuum of interests and to completely disregard a whole other set of circumstances.

So let it be known what is actually happening and what the actual impact is. If you are a US citizen, then you have representation in Congress, and it is in your interest to get on their backs about this, and if they do nothing, then it is in your interests to vote them out of office, too!
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  #34  
Old 05.06.2012, 20:14
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Re: Migrosbank - Americans should avoid it

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So which bank will you/did you sign up with that has better conditions for Americans.
After several internal phone calls, UBS agreed to take my tiny Mietzinskautionskonto.
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