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  #41  
Old 06.10.2009, 12:11
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

I just had a very long discussion at my bank, not one of the bigger ones, and it seems that US citizens, living outside of Switzerland are no longer allowed to have accounts in Switzerland, and this maybe with all banks. They certainly are no longer allowed to have internet banking. When you cross the boarder, you need to declare if you have more then 10,000 in cash on you, with internet banking you do not need to. My bank, although I am completely transparent with doing my taxes in the US, have now told me, even though I am living and working in Switzerland, that I can no lnger pay my bills online, nor use internet banking. That I must come into the bank for all transactions. ALSO, I have to either sell my securities, or transfer them to another bank, it looks like it has to be a US one, at a 80 franc per position fee. They told me to call Credit Suisse, as they do business in the US, but when I called, either I got a total (B*%$^%$) on the phone, or some one really upset with the whole American policy, but they told me they were cutting all americans with bank accounts in Switzerland out, even if they do business in the US. She said blame it on, a Swiss guy whose name I don't remember, could be a finance minister.
So, even if you have an account, it might be leaving, or becoming very limited in scope. I am going to check with my bank in another EU country and see if this is just limited to Switzerland or is worldwide. It's a shame. People trying to work, leaving their families back in the US, and getting punished for it. I have never tried to hide anything, always paid my taxes, and because of some people back home, who aren't even living abroad(see UBS case), I have to live even a little more un comfortably.
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  #42  
Old 06.10.2009, 13:08
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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I just had a very long discussion at my bank, not one of the bigger ones, and it seems that US citizens, living outside of Switzerland are no longer allowed to have accounts in Switzerland...
I am going to check with my bank in another EU country and see if this is just limited to Switzerland or is worldwide.
No longer allowed by whom, and where is this written? I'm curious (not arguing with you!), since this is a uniquely Swiss problem. To date, nothing at all has changed with banks in France, Luxembourg, or the UK.

Incidentally .... Why don't you call one of the US banks in Switzerland, and ask to open a checking account? (It might be a simple solution, but if one of them doesn't want your account, you should be easily able to find a US employee to ask "why".)
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  #43  
Old 06.10.2009, 13:20
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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I just had a very long discussion at my bank, not one of the bigger ones, and it seems that US citizens, living outside of Switzerland are no longer allowed to have accounts in Switzerland, and this maybe with all banks. They certainly are no longer allowed to have internet banking. When you cross the boarder, you need to declare if you have more then 10,000 in cash on you, with internet banking you do not need to. My bank, although I am completely transparent with doing my taxes in the US, have now told me, even though I am living and working in Switzerland, that I can no lnger pay my bills online, nor use internet banking. That I must come into the bank for all transactions. ALSO, I have to either sell my securities, or transfer them to another bank, it looks like it has to be a US one, at a 80 franc per position fee. They told me to call Credit Suisse, as they do business in the US, but when I called, either I got a total (B*%$^%$) on the phone, or some one really upset with the whole American policy, but they told me they were cutting all americans with bank accounts in Switzerland out, even if they do business in the US. She said blame it on, a Swiss guy whose name I don't remember, could be a finance minister.
So, even if you have an account, it might be leaving, or becoming very limited in scope. I am going to check with my bank in another EU country and see if this is just limited to Switzerland or is worldwide. It's a shame. People trying to work, leaving their families back in the US, and getting punished for it. I have never tried to hide anything, always paid my taxes, and because of some people back home, who aren't even living abroad(see UBS case), I have to live even a little more un comfortably.
Does this currently apply to ALL U.S. citizens living in Switzerland (no matter the length of time of living in Switzerland)???
I have been here since 2001 and have a Post Finance Account...
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  #44  
Old 06.10.2009, 13:29
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

I am currently at Credit Suisse, and I have not received any
correspondence regarding my account.

I believe existing accounts will stay the way they are. New
accounts seem to be another story then.
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  #45  
Old 06.10.2009, 13:50
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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Does this currently apply to ALL U.S. citizens living in Switzerland (no matter the length of time of living in Switzerland)???
I have been here since 2001 and have a Post Finance Account...
Each Bank has its own policy depending on their ability and willingness to cope with the IRS reporting requirements.

The situation is evolving. Unfortunately, the trend is towards discouraging relationships with US persons.
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  #46  
Old 06.10.2009, 13:52
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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No longer allowed by whom, and where is this written? I'm curious (not arguing with you!), since this is a uniquely Swiss problem. To date, nothing at all has changed with banks in France, Luxembourg, or the UK.

Incidentally .... Why don't you call one of the US banks in Switzerland, and ask to open a checking account? (It might be a simple solution, but if one of them doesn't want your account, you should be easily able to find a US employee to ask "why".)
The US banks in CH are not doing retail banking. They are focused on investment banking or private banking (with asset thresholds above 1 million)
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  #47  
Old 06.10.2009, 13:56
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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Each Bank has its own policy depending on their ability and willingness to cope with the IRS reporting requirements.

The situation is evolving. Unfortunately, the trend is towards discouraging relationships with US persons.
UBS told us that they are implementing dedicated account managers specifically for US citizens.

Ironically, after being at the centre of the problem, UBS may end up with more business from US customers since those customers may have little other choice.
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  #48  
Old 06.10.2009, 16:15
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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Does this currently apply to ALL U.S. citizens living in Switzerland (no matter the length of time of living in Switzerland)???
I have been here since 2001 and have a Post Finance Account...
Post Finance said they are implementing procedures for existing accounts by US clients, and these will include documentation for larger sums to prove US tax has been paid.
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  #49  
Old 06.10.2009, 17:09
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

People who have no choice anymore because they cannot open accounts in Switzerland, can perhaps open account in EU countries. The main account would likely be in Euros, but you can usually open another one in CHF for free. It would just not attract any interest.

Then you can ask your employer to do a SEPA payment into the CHF account for free.
This way, you will not have to convert (you can do it at leisure to the main EUR account or overseas account when required).

Also, neither your employer nor you pays any banking fees as SEPA payments from Switzerland to the EU and vice versa are free. Just make sure they get your IBAN number and the BIC number of the EU bank.

PS. this is how it would work in the Netherlands. You have to pay around 30 Euros per year for such an account including a Maestro card.
I am not sure how it would work in other EU countries.

Caveat: you would need to find a bank willing to open the account while you are not resident in that country.

Last edited by muze7; 06.10.2009 at 17:23.
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  #50  
Old 06.10.2009, 17:18
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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...this is how it would work in the Netherlands...
I am not sure how it would work in other EU countries. Caveat: you would need to find a bank willing to open the account while you are not resident in that country.
muze7, It works the same way in France, and it is quite acceptable for an individual non-resident to open a checking account (with debit card).
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  #51  
Old 06.10.2009, 18:29
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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I take it back; after reading the ACA page you linked, I think that the 2 million dollar limit simply applies to the alternative tax regime, not to a "you can't ditch your citizenship" kind of rule.

I was further dismayed to learn that the taxable post-citizenship period is 10 years, not 5, by the way...
Yes, you are right. I breathe a sigh of relief...
Bust seriously many web sites and articles get that wrong.
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  #52  
Old 06.10.2009, 18:35
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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People who have no choice anymore because they cannot open accounts in Switzerland, can perhaps open account in EU countries. The main account would likely be in Euros, but you can usually open another one in CHF for free. It would just not attract any interest.

Then you can ask your employer to do a SEPA payment into the CHF account for free.
This way, you will not have to convert (you can do it at leisure to the main EUR account or overseas account when required).

Also, neither your employer nor you pays any banking fees as SEPA payments from Switzerland to the EU and vice versa are free. Just make sure they get your IBAN number and the BIC number of the EU bank.

PS. this is how it would work in the Netherlands. You have to pay around 30 Euros per year for such an account including a Maestro card.
I am not sure how it would work in other EU countries.

Caveat: you would need to find a bank willing to open the account while you are not resident in that country.
And what a pain it would be to pay your bills in Switzerland......
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  #53  
Old 06.10.2009, 18:56
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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No, not any longer: the Heart Act of 2008 ditched the 10-year period in favor of an "exit tax." (See IRC section 877, but be sure the website shows the 2008 revision; some do not.)

The $2M net worth threshold is one of three conditions that trigger the "exit tax" .

Incidentally, you can always ditch (renounce) your citizenship; a quick Google search will turn up instructions on how to make an appointment at a US Embassy to do so.
The exit tax is really brutal. There is no way on earth anyone with a sane mind would want to do that.
Between your 401K and even a fixer upper house in the San Francisco Bay Area for example, you quickly get to the $600K threshold.
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  #54  
Old 06.10.2009, 19:05
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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I am currently at Credit Suisse, and I have not received any
correspondence regarding my account.

I believe existing accounts will stay the way they are. New
accounts seem to be another story then.
For now, they stay the way they are. For later, the banks will try to get rid of all US citizens. There is a logic behind it. If US is asking for a database with US citizens, the bank would say: look at our regulation, we are not allowed to have any US clients and just shut the door in their face (perhaps just naive). Just get rid of "bad" business.

The US citizenship is going to be become a bigger liability. Other countries will probably follow the example.
However, there are other non-swiss bank operating in Switzerland, which will probably seize this opportunity. A new business is going to prosper: "basic banking for American citizens living abroad"
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  #55  
Old 06.10.2009, 19:21
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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For now, they stay the way they are. For later, the banks will try to get rid of all US citizens. There is a logic behind it. If US is asking for a database with US citizens, the bank would say: look at our regulation, we are not allowed to have any US clients and just shut the door in their face (perhaps just naive). Just get rid of "bad" business.

The US citizenship is going to be become a bigger liability. Other countries will probably follow the example.
However, there are other non-swiss bank operating in Switzerland, which will probably seize this opportunity. A new business is going to prosper: "basic banking for American citizens living abroad"
I kept a small account in a Swiss bank (voluntarily less than $10K) for pocket money when I go to Switzerland. Nobody wanted to touch my money and that included a dozen banks I contacted.

Last edited by ch-expat; 29.10.2009 at 00:14.
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  #56  
Old 06.10.2009, 21:29
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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For now, they stay the way they are. For later, the banks will try to get rid of all US citizens. There is a logic behind it. If US is asking for a database with US citizens, the bank would say: look at our regulation, we are not allowed to have any US clients and just shut the door in their face (perhaps just naive). Just get rid of "bad" business.

The US citizenship is going to be become a bigger liability. Other countries will probably follow the example.
However, there are other non-swiss bank operating in Switzerland, which will probably seize this opportunity. A new business is going to prosper: "basic banking for American citizens living abroad"
The foreign banks currently operating in Switzerland are mostly into wealth management. Less than $500K and they are not interested.
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  #57  
Old 06.10.2009, 21:41
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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Post Finance has a 3a pension special running with 2.5% and they give you 100francs if you transfer your account.

I went to move my account last week. All was great and went fine.
Today I received an email saying that the Post Finance has decided to no longer accept any more accounts with American Citizens and this includes accounts for pensions.


This is going to make it difficult for Americans living in Switzerland. I report all my accounts. It makes it seem Americans are no longer wanted in Swiss Banking.
--------

That used to be a year ago. Now apparently all the banks are accepting US citizens and allowing them to open accounts.
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  #58  
Old 06.10.2009, 21:44
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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You're never "stuck". However, the US government (unfreakingbelievably) reserves the right to continue taxing you for five years after you give up your citizenship. Crazy.
---

I don't think that they do that. It is over once you give up citizenship. They also have foreign earned income tax credits.
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  #59  
Old 06.10.2009, 21:47
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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I take it back; after reading the ACA page you linked, I think that the 2 million dollar limit simply applies to the alternative tax regime, not to a "you can't ditch your citizenship" kind of rule.

I was further dismayed to learn that the taxable post-citizenship period is 10 years, not 5, by the way...
----

it is 0 years if you give up US citizenship. The 10 years applies to U.S. permanent residents.
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Old 06.10.2009, 21:53
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Re: US citizens have difficulty opening accounts with Post Finance?

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There was a recent post here from a Swiss citizen who said that the Swiss banks aren't keen on having him as a client because he's residing in the US.
---

that means that even non US citizens who work in the US on a temporary work permit may not be allowed to have a bank account in Switz ?
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