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  #21  
Old 25.10.2012, 22:39
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

Thank you for your answer.
But as I understand, you are Swiss resident, and maybe there are other rules for US residents, as some have suggested on this thread.

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We don't get any paper statements from Raiffeisen...my guess is they charge for that. But I can do e-banking, and I do get e-statements. I asked them if I could access my account during our recent trip abroad and they said I would be able to, but in the end I didn't need to, so not sure if that was accurate..
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  #22  
Old 26.10.2012, 10:09
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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OMG!!! Another one ...!!!
How long until Postfinance closes accounts of US citizen leaving in Switzerland?!!!
In 2013 Swiss Post will spin off its Postfinance business unit as an independent company complete with a banking license. Postfinance is currently required to open a bank account for anyone who has a strong relationship with Switzerland, including Americans who live here. However, in 2013, when the new Postfinance becomes its own company, it will be able to exclude groups and individuals which it deems as posing "legal or reputational risk" (Rechts- und Reputationsrisiken) to it. This change is being interpreted as directed at US Persons. The Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce has protested vigorously. For more details, attached is link to a March "Blick" newspaper article from the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce's website:

http://www.amcham.ch/media/downloads..._im_clinch.PDF

UBS and Credit Suisse allow some US Persons to bank with them and reportedly have set up special compliance departments to ensure legal compliance with the onerous US oversight of its overseas US citizens. However, they apparently are looking for upper-middle class customers and reportedly may not accept average earners as customers.

The US Ambassador to Switzerland, Donald Beyer, recognized the difficulty that Americans are having in Switzerland to maintain bank accounts in an interview in the Handelszeitung this week, mentioning that "many hundreds" having given up their US citizenship at the Bern embassy this year as a result:

Handelszeitung: “The tax conflict is causing dual-citizens to give up their US passport.”

Beyer: “At this time this is a greater phenomenon in Switzerland than anywhere else in the world. Most of them are Swiss, who grew up and went to school here. They received the US passport only because of a parent or because they “only” were born in the USA. Still, with the stricter interpretation of US laws the US passport is no longer so attractive. Many of them have lost their bank relationships because many banks do not want to have them any longer as customers. For such people it is simpler to give up their US citizenship. Many hundreds of dual-citizens in Switzerland have done that this year although as a percentage it is still a small number.”
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  #23  
Old 26.10.2012, 10:25
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

In June, Dick Harvey, an architect of the US FATCA law, which is the law causing Swiss banks to close accounts of Americans living here, reviewed the banking situation in Switzerland and wrote an article on his findings. Below is an excerpt (FIs are financial institutions, i.e., banks):

"Accounts of U.S. Citizens Being Closed

During the development of FATCA it was expected that some non-U.S. FIs would close the investment accounts of U.S. citizens. That is one of the reasons that deposit accounts of up to $50,000 are exempt from reporting under FATCA. However, it was anticipated that other FIs would see a business opportunity to provide accounts for U.S. customers; a belief supported by informal discussions with selected FIs.

After attending the debates and speaking with U.S. citizens living in Switzerland, Swiss FIs, and various Swiss investment advisers, reality may be somewhat different than expected. Specifically, it appears that substantially all Swiss FIs are refusing to do business with U.S. customers. In addition to refusing to open new accounts for U.S. citizens, Swiss FIs are terminating existing accounts.6 It should be noted there are a handful of Swiss FIs providing checking and savings accounts, but if a U.S. citizen wants to invest in a securities account, he likely will need at least $1 million to invest -- and in many cases, $5 million."


http://www.taxanalysts.com/www/featu...D?OpenDocument
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  #24  
Old 26.10.2012, 10:56
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

In my opinion, by sending your friend statements to a US address and giving her e-banking access, they would effectively set themselves up to be deemed as doing business within the US and would be open to additional compliance measures. This they do not want and thus refuse to send mail to a US address.
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Old 26.10.2012, 11:07
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

The Wall Street Journal published an article last weekend called "Wary Swiss Banks Shun Yanks". Below is the link:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...295543436.html
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  #26  
Old 26.10.2012, 12:34
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

I can access UBS fine from inside EU but outside Switzerland. I think it is obviously the banks that are scared and wanting to limit risk. UBS more than anybody actually has reason to want to limit possibility of them being sued by the US. And there are those 11 other banks who were being investigated by the IRS. I can't remember if Raffeisen is on that list. I would have thought that US citizens in Switzerland would be alright, but of course there is that anomaly where US citizens still have to pay US tax no matter where they are.

Hope your friend finds a solution!
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  #27  
Old 26.10.2012, 12:39
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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I would have thought that US citizens in Switzerland would be alright, but of course there is that anomaly where US citizens still have to pay US tax no matter where they are.
Unfortunately, Swiss citizens in the United States face the same problem, as they are classified as US persons through their new nationality or green card..
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Old 26.10.2012, 12:41
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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In 2013 Swiss Post will spin off its Postfinance business unit as an independent company complete with a banking license. Postfinance is currently required to open a bank account for anyone who has a strong relationship with Switzerland, including Americans who live here. However, in 2013, when the new Postfinance becomes its own company, it will be able to exclude groups and individuals which it deems as posing "legal or reputational risk" (Rechts- und Reputationsrisiken) to it. This change is being interpreted as directed at US Persons. The Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce has protested vigorously. For more details, attached is link to a March "Blick" newspaper article from the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce's website:

http://www.amcham.ch/media/downloads..._im_clinch.PDF
The risk that Postfinance will cancel the accounts of US citizens resident in Switzerland sometime in 2013 is well-known and expected. Thanks for mentioning it again. For those of us who can't bank at UBS or CS, the following might be a workaround, but not ideal, solution:

1) Have your company pay you with a cheque (or possibly in currency*)
- Will need to discuss and agree with company controller, HR, etc.
2) Cash the paycheques only as needed and store the unendorsed, uncashed paycheques in a fire-proof box or, ideally, in a bank safety deposit box**
- Keep an eye on the expiry dates of the uncashed cheques
3) Pay the rent, health insurance, etc. with cash directly at the Post monthly
- For convenience, see if you can pay the rent quarterly, in advance of course
4) Apply for Swiss citizenship (or another citizenship) as soon as eligible
5) Relinquish/ renounce US citizenship as soon as Swiss citizenship (or another citizenship) has been granted ***

It will be a major pain in the tail for US citizens in Switzerland who find themselves without banking services. I have begun to appreciate what illegal aliens in the US go through to maintain a job there.

*-For reasons of safety, unendorsed cheques would be preferred over currency. Unendorsed cheques should be replaceable if lost or stolen.
**-It may be difficult or impossible to rent a bank safety deposit box without a banking relationship
***-In theory, it is possible to renounce US citizenship without another citizenship which is called "stateless". This is generally not recommended. There is an ex-American in Slovakia, Mike Gogolski, who did this several years ago.
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  #29  
Old 26.10.2012, 13:05
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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1) Have your company pay you with a cheque (or possibly in currency*)
The only problem I see with this, in Switzerland, is the fact that you can do absolutely nothing with a check without having a bank account. On top of that, pay in the form of cash is also a rarity. What ever you do, don't publicize that you get paid in cash... you may have friends waiting for you after work
JC
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Old 26.10.2012, 13:39
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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The only problem I see with this, in Switzerland, is the fact that you can do absolutely nothing with a check without having a bank account. On top of that, pay in the form of cash is also a rarity. What ever you do, don't publicize that you get paid in cash... you may have friends waiting for you after work
JC
Thanks for your feedback. In a meeting, the company controller advised he could do the following to pay US citizens if/ when they no longer have bank accounts here:
1) A bank transfer could be made to a spouse's account, assuming spouse is non-US citizen. (Controller's preferred approach).
2) A cheque for the monthly salary could be issued to the US citizen employee which could be cashed at the local office of the issuing bank, according to the controller.
3) Under no circumstances was he willing to pay in currency because he does not have the processes to do it (personally, I think he could pay in cash but it would be more work for his department).
4) As a brainstorming idea, it was proposed that the company could set up straw-man accounts for the US citizen employees. He said this would violate bank "know your customer" regulations and rejected it. (He called the suggestion a "Schnapsidee").
5) It was also discussed to have payroll electronically transferred to US bank accounts of the US citizen employees. This would solve the problem for the company but not for the employees who need access to CHF. This idea was left hanging.

If it becomes too difficult to pay the US citizen employees, I expect that the US citizens will be encouraged to move on.
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Old 26.10.2012, 13:49
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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Thanks for your feedback. In a meeting, the company controller advised he could do the following to pay US citizens if/ when they no longer have bank accounts here:
1) A bank transfer could be made to a spouse's account, assuming spouse is non-US citizen. (Controller's preferred approach).
2) A cheque for the monthly salary could be issued to the US citizen employee which could be cashed at the local office of the issuing bank, according to the controller.
3) Under no circumstances was he willing to pay in currency because he does not have the processes to do it (personally, I think he could pay in cash but it would be more work for his department).
4) As a brainstorming idea, it was proposed that the company could set up straw-man accounts for the US citizen employees. He said this would violate bank "know your customer" regulations and rejected it. (He called the suggestion a "Schnapsidee").
5) It was also discussed to have payroll electronically transferred to US bank accounts of the US citizen employees. This would solve the problem for the company but not for the employees who need access to CHF. This idea was left hanging.

If it becomes too difficult to pay the US citizen employees, I expect that the US citizens will be encouraged to move on.
1. The spouse account is as much subject to all US persons rule as the one of the US person.
2. To cash a cheque, I believe you need to have an account (only memory, no facts - but could be subject to money laundering laws - or additional cost by the bank).
3. Payment in cash is looked down upon for multiple reasons. I guess at some point it would put the company themselves at risk as accessories to avoid US taxes..
4. same here

Ideally a US bank would set up shop here and profit from all those "lost" customers... the only easy solution, I guess, as long as it is worthwile.
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  #32  
Old 26.10.2012, 14:01
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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Ideally a US bank would set up shop here and profit from all those "lost" customers... the only easy solution, I guess, as long as it is worthwile.
Won't work, then it is considered a foreign bank IAW US banking rules.

I agree Curt, that is a Schnapsidee Either way the employer looks at it, any decision will cost the employer and employee additional funds. Such as bank transfer to US bank. But wait... the money is needed here to pay rent, insurances, etc.! More profit for the transaction-house that handles the international bank transfers, for each payment!

Renounce is only good (financially) if you have a limited value. Not sure where the cut off is, maybe 2 million in assets.
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  #33  
Old 26.10.2012, 14:03
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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1. The spouse account is as much subject to all US persons rule as the one of the US person.
Correct.
JC
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Old 26.10.2012, 14:07
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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Won't work, then it is considered a foreign bank IAW US banking rules.
Not quite sure I understand that.. of course it would be subject to US Tax compliance, but a US bank would be happy to deliver that kind of service, surely. After all they have the staff and experience to deal with that..
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Old 26.10.2012, 14:14
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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1. The spouse account is as much subject to all US persons rule as the one of the US person.
Why is that - because a check in my name goes into it?

In my case, I don't work so the paycheck issue isn't an issue. However, my husband is German and me US. Could I be taken off the account totally (bad in the sense that the money is no longer "mine" as well...) and then all would be ok? Then I would have to use my husband's bank card to make all our payments? Boy, between the Swiss not liking women to work but rather stay home and take care of the kids and these banking laws, I am really going backwards in time
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Old 26.10.2012, 14:21
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

Paying in cash is usually not an option. It exposes the company to money laundering investigations and also it is usually not allowed for internal audit purposes. More often than not, those internal audit rules are drawn up in the corporate office located somewhere in the US and are instituted for SOX compliance reasons. Oh, the irony....

I think your country is sending you a loud and clear message; "Don't cross that border or we will make your life miserable".


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3) Under no circumstances was he willing to pay in currency because he does not have the processes to do it (personally, I think he could pay in cash but it would be more work for his department).
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  #37  
Old 26.10.2012, 14:25
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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1. The spouse account is as much subject to all US persons rule as the one of the US person.
Not true. The account is only subject to reporting if the US spouse has signature authority.
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  #38  
Old 26.10.2012, 14:30
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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Not quite sure I understand that.. of course it would be subject to US Tax compliance, but a US bank would be happy to deliver that kind of service, surely. After all they have the staff and experience to deal with that..
Sure, but as soon as they open a branch office outside the US, they are required to report each US account holder as UBS, CS, etc.

Sure it would work, but the extra work involved is not worth the win, IMO.
JC
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Old 26.10.2012, 14:33
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Re: Accessing CH Account via E-Banking While in the US

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Not true. The account is only subject to reporting if the US spouse has signature authority.
Do you have a source for this please? As far as I know, the spouse's accounts are reporting requirements under FBAR and FATCA. Key word is "spouse".

Going on what I have been told. I hope I am wrong
JC
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