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Old 29.06.2012, 08:40
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Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

I know of quite a few American/Swiss citizens who live in the US.

One got a letter from the Kantonalbank yesterday stating:

- they are cancelling the account
- all funds must be transferred by July 31
- the account will be frozen after July 31

- the letter is in German
- the Kantonalbank is giving their customer one month to react
- they are offering no alternatives
- the letter mentioned that all accounts of US citizens (it is inconsequential if they also hold the Swiss passport) living abroad will be closed
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Old 29.06.2012, 09:18
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

This is called "consequence", this is what happens when the IRS goes ballistic/paranoid (delete as applicable) and the US feels the urge to flex it's monetary muscles and treat other nation's financial systems with contempt.

You know you have a choice of reneging your US citizenship or sharing your financial portfolio with the Feds at the United States Department of the Treasury and getting double-taxed for the rest of your life.

All Swiss banks are affected by this, there are no safe harbors here any longer. Thank Uncle Sam as you complete your Form 1040NR.
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Old 29.06.2012, 09:28
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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Thank Uncle Sam as you complete your Form 1040NR.
I think I'd rather give him the finger and a few choice words than thank him!

7 more years.... /sigh.
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Old 29.06.2012, 10:09
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

Due to legality reasons, the Kantonalbank can only inform their customers about this regulation in German, French or Italian. GRRRRRRRRR
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Old 29.06.2012, 10:44
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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Due to legality reasons, the Kantonalbank can only inform their customers about this regulation in German, French or Italian. GRRRRRRRRR

Really? I haven't received any letter from them as of yet. I don't know what I would do if that happened.

I thought I read about a law here that says a bank cannot discriminate against a person based on their nationality (if they have a swiss residence period)
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Old 29.06.2012, 10:50
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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Really? I haven't received any letter from them as of yet. I don't know what I would do if that happened.

I thought I read about a law here that says a bank cannot discriminate against a person based on their nationality (if they have a swiss residence period)
The clue might be in the title "Americans living abroad" (as not in Switzerland )
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Old 29.06.2012, 10:51
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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The clue might be in the title "Americans living abroad" (as not in Switzerland )
And in any case, there's no such law that I know of. Many banks now refuse service to Americans, regardless of residency.
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Old 29.06.2012, 10:55
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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The clue might be in the title "Americans living abroad" (as not in Switzerland )
Ah true, I read it as two congruent statements


Well in that case...i can see some logic to it. Opening an account in a foreign country without being a resident was previously something rich people (cough Romney cough) could do almost at will. The poorer of us could never go to Switzerland and open an account. I like that it levels the playing field
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Old 29.06.2012, 11:04
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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And in any case, there's no such law that I know of. Many banks now refuse service to Americans, regardless of residency.
I remember reading it here. It does seem like a dubious interpretation of the law.
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Old 29.06.2012, 11:09
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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I know of quite a few American/Swiss citizens who live in the US.

One got a letter from the Kantonalbank yesterday stating:

- they are cancelling the account
- all funds must be transferred by July 31
- the account will be frozen after July 31

- the letter is in German
- the Kantonalbank is giving their customer one month to react
- they are offering no alternatives
- the letter mentioned that all accounts of US citizens (it is inconsequential if they also hold the Swiss passport) living abroad will be closed
Do you blame the bank with the heavy handed approach of the US government and regulatory authorities a person living in the USA and holding an account in Switzerland is more likely to result in significant efforts to comply and report. The easier solution particularly from a risk perspective is to simply not have such accounts hence the approach seems perfectly reasonable.

As far as issuing the letters in non english the people who opened such accounts should be aware that Switzerland has 3 formal languages. It is their responsibility not the bank's to work within these limits.
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Old 29.06.2012, 11:53
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

Damn, it's just a matter of time before I'm paid in an envelope that I have to stash under the mattress.

Dear IRS, FFFFFFUUUUUUU
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Old 29.06.2012, 12:27
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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The clue might be in the title "Americans living abroad" (as not in Switzerland )
this was my question... it is for those who are not residing in Switzerland right?
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Old 29.06.2012, 12:29
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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Dear IRS, FFFFFFUUUUUUU
i second that... in fact, I hope the IRS is monitoring this thread (i know i know, i am just done with the US crap and ranting), and kicking any and all citizens out of the US who feel the same, setting them free...

i am going on the record as saying

i will file my taxes again next year because I had income in the US this year (a bonus payout screw up). post that... come find me, i will be hiking somewhere in the alps.
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Old 29.06.2012, 19:07
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

The irony of this is that if Americans can no longer have access to the Swiss banking system, then the FBAR and FATCA don't need to be filed and tax returns can be ignored (money stuffed under the mattress or home safe is outside the financial system and non-traceable).

Well done!
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Old 29.06.2012, 23:21
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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The irony of this is that if Americans can no longer have access to the Swiss banking system, then the FBAR and FATCA don't need to be filed and tax returns can be ignored (money stuffed under the mattress or home safe is outside the financial system and non-traceable).

Well done!
*LMAO* Great point! They would shoot themselves in the foot and it would be poetic justice for us.
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Old 30.06.2012, 04:39
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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And in any case, there's no such law that I know of. Many banks now refuse service to Americans, regardless of residency.
Title 2, Chapter 1, Article 8, line 2 of the Swiss Federal Constitution:

"Niemand darf diskriminiert werden, namentlich nicht wegen der Herkunft, der Rasse, des Geschlechts, des Alters, der Sprache, der sozialen Stellung, der Lebensform, der religiösen, weltanschaulichen oder politischen Überzeugung oder wegen einer körperlichen, geistigen oder psychischen Behinderung."

Title 2, Chapter 1, Article 9, line 1 of the Swiss Federal Constitution:

"Jede Person hat Anspruch darauf, von den staatlichen Organen ohne Willkür und nach Treu und Glauben behandelt zu werden."

Swiss Cantonal Banks are either fully owned cantonal government entities or majority owned by cantonal governments.
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Old 30.06.2012, 04:43
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7 more years.... /sigh.
Could be less if the naturalisation law gets revised soon, reducing residency requirement of 12 years to 8 years and forcing all cantons to comply with a 3 year max residency requirement...

... which would be 18 more months for me before I start weighing my options to pay a visit to the US embassy in Bern.
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Old 30.06.2012, 09:39
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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You know you have a choice of reneging your US citizenship or sharing your financial portfolio with the Feds at the United States Department of the Treasury and getting double-taxed for the rest of your life.
Ah, but without another passport one has no option but to remain under Uncle Sam's thumb.

Naturalization in CH is not just an administrative process; the subjective assessment at the commune level is a pretty high hurdle. We've been here long enough to meet the residency requirements - but I'm guessing that the chance of acceptance is nil.

Giving up the blue book isn't a realistic option for us - interesting times ahead.
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Old 30.06.2012, 10:26
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

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Could be less if the naturalisation law gets revised soon, reducing residency requirement of 12 years to 8 years and forcing all cantons to comply with a 3 year max residency requirement...

... which would be 18 more months for me before I start weighing my options to pay a visit to the US embassy in Bern.
Could be less if someone grants me a magical passport, too, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Or is there a referendum I don't know about?
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Old 30.06.2012, 10:26
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Re: Kantonalbank terminating accounts of Americans living abroad

This is really sad indeed and I do not know what else Switzerland could have done. I read recently where the US continued to allow Swiss citizens to enter US without a Visa for the 90 day period. Big deal! US is pissing -off a lot of their citizens abroad, and wherever possible many are giving up the blue book. It just isn't worth the hassle. US is not what it used to be and US citizenship has lost its value for many hardworking expats. It makes you realize how much you "really want to be free, and even though many complain about Switzerland's rules etc...Swiss citizens do have freedom."
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