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Old 06.05.2020, 12:04
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Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

Hi All,

My husband and I are interesting in finally opening a joint banking account. I am american and he is Swiss. However, for years we have kept all finances separate due to all the supposed complications of the US FBAR and US Tax filing if his finances are mixed with mine. Also, the if i remember with power of attorney, the IRS would have the right to access the accounts and therefore him only because of me. However, my US tax advisor says generally for FBAR and taxes a joint account would be no problem, but then why does it seem to be that no one does it?

Does anyone have experience with this? Does any US citizen have a joint account with a Swiss citizen?

What is there to look out for or note before doing this?

Any advise anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 06.05.2020, 13:34
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

DON'T !!


It will cause you far more problems that you will gain, plus you are very limited with the types of account you can hold and once an American is involved the banks will refuse everything else.


Keep your finances separate
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Old 06.05.2020, 13:39
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

Welcome to the forum.

Guess it depends on what you call a problem. For me with a British husband having a joint account and then discovering that I should have been filing US tax returns for years was another nail in the keep US citizenship coffin. I earn nothing so it effectively meant he would have been taxed simply because of my citizenship and us having a joint account. Not having lived in the States for over 40 years I saw no reason I should owe them anything.
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Old 06.05.2020, 22:06
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

Why do extra paperwork and risk extra fines for even a simple mistake? Not worth it, imo.
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Old 07.05.2020, 19:25
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

I'm originally British and just because my bank thinks there's a common language between Brits and Americans, every couple of years they make me sign a form in blood swearing I have no connection with the USA. My advisor is embarassed every he asks me to do this as he's been looking after me for years and knows there's no way the answer can change.
I think many Swiss banks are absolutely paranoid about anything to do with the US because they've been screwed by the US. If you can, I would just steer clear and keep your accounts separate.
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Old 07.05.2020, 19:27
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

Why do you want a joint account in the first place?

Tom
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Old 07.05.2020, 19:46
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

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I'm originally British and just because my bank thinks there's a common language between Brits and Americans, every couple of years they make me sign a form in blood swearing I have no connection with the USA. My advisor is embarassed every he asks me to do this as he's been looking after me for years and knows there's no way the answer can change.
I think many Swiss banks are absolutely paranoid about anything to do with the US because they've been screwed by the US. If you can, I would just steer clear and keep your accounts separate.
That's weird. I've never been asked.
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Old 07.05.2020, 19:48
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

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Why do you want a joint account in the first place?

Tom
A lot of American couples I know find it a way to be "equal" with contributing towards shared household expenses. They each have their own account into which salary is deposited, and then they each transfer X% of said salary into the joint account. That way even if they make very different salaries they're each still contributing the same percentage of the base to the household.

The joint account is used to pay mortgage, car payment, electricity, child-related costs, etc. and the individual account is used for personal things like hobbies, haircuts, clothes, etc.

I guess I can see it if living there, but living here with all the extra reporting etc.? Nah.
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Old 07.05.2020, 22:00
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

My husband & I had a joint account for living expenses. The balance was always relatively low as it was only used for those purposes.

I included this account in my FBAR report.

It was no big deal.
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Old 08.05.2020, 11:49
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

I am also an American, sharing a bank account with a Swiss. Not a problem at all. I have to do an FBAR for it, but he is not really implicated in anything. Anyway, I am not evading taxes, so we should have nothing to worry about. Maybe its more complicated if you are married? I am not married to my partner.
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Old 08.05.2020, 12:23
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

If the mixed US/Non-US banking issues still preclude a joint account, and you still feel the need for one, I'd suggest the following as a near equivalent:

Get the (non-US) partner to set up a separate bank account in his name to be used exclusively for shared bills.
You both make a regular payment of an agreed amount into the account to keep it topped up (say by standing order).
You both know the password of the online banking system for that account so either or both can administer it remotely for paying bills etc.
You both know the pin code of the bank card so can, if necessary, draw cash out at a cash dispenser or use it directly for purchases. You may even be able to get 2 cards for the same account. Anyway, you certainly can for credit cards.
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Old 08.05.2020, 12:48
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

My daughter and her husband gave up on the idea of shared bank accounts, despite both being Swiss as she was also US and the banks weren't interested.

Tom
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Old 08.05.2020, 13:13
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

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You both know the password of the online banking system for that account so either or both can administer it remotely for paying bills etc.
You both know the pin code of the bank card so can, if necessary, draw cash out at a cash dispenser or use it directly for purchases. You may even be able to get 2 cards for the same account. Anyway, you certainly can for credit cards.
Sorry but that’s enough to subject the account legally owned just by the non-US citizen to FBAR & 8938 obligations. Counts as “signatory power”.

Of course: “Who’s to know?” Ans.: Nobody absent an improbable audit.
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Old 08.05.2020, 18:39
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

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Sorry but that’s enough to subject the account legally owned just by the non-US citizen to FBAR & 8938 obligations. Counts as “signatory power”.

Of course: “Who’s to know?” Ans.: Nobody absent an improbable audit.
I'm glad you pointed that out. The couple must then refrain from disclosing to each other any passwords, pin codes etc. in case, by doing so, they fall foul of any of those statutory instruments you have mentioned.
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Old 08.05.2020, 19:00
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Re: Joint Banking in Switzerland between a Swiss & American

Have joint accounts with Swiss Miss. No problem! But dont forget FBAR each year.

If account is in the States no need for an FBAR.
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