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Old 22.06.2012, 04:17
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"Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

This personal story from "Geneva Lunch" gives a fine overview of the impact that the US law "FATCA" is having on normal Americans trying to (still) live in Switzerland.

http://genevalunch.com/blog/2012/06/21/swiss-banks-step-up-efforts-to-identify-quarantine-or-avoid-us-citizens/

- I'm beginning to understand why it takes 18 months to obtain an appointment to renounce US citizenship at the US Embassy in Bern. It's toxic!
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Old 22.06.2012, 09:23
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

A link to this article needs to be sent to every Congress and House of Representatives person so they can know what hardships they're causing US citizens.
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Old 22.06.2012, 09:43
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

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A link to this article needs to be sent to every Congress and House of Representatives person so they can know what hardships they're causing US citizens.
And you think they will care about it?
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Old 22.06.2012, 09:54
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

Probably no, but they should. These are citizens who they're supposed to be representing after all.
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Old 22.06.2012, 12:15
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

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This personal story from "Geneva Lunch" gives a fine overview of the impact that the US law "FATCA" is having on normal Americans trying to (still) live in Switzerland.

http://genevalunch.com/blog/2012/06/21/swiss-banks-step-up-efforts-to-identify-quarantine-or-avoid-us-citizens/

- I'm beginning to understand why it takes 18 months to obtain an appointment to renounce US citizenship at the US Embassy in Bern. It's toxic!
I really don't blame the Swiss banks. It's our government's overreaching bullying methods they're trying to mitigate.
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Old 22.06.2012, 13:40
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

If there is one single issue facing all 40,000 US citizens in Switzerland, it is maintaining (and opening) banking relationships. Yet, I haven't heard a public peep from our Ambassador, Don Beyer, in Bern. On the other hand, he was very quick to tell the Swiss in late 2010 that they should not consider granting the Wikileaks head, Assange, asylum.

I am beginning to wonder where his interests lie. Certainly not with the average US citizen in Switzerland.
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Old 22.06.2012, 14:01
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

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I Yet, I haven't heard a public peep from our Ambassador, Don Beyer, in Bern.

I am beginning to wonder where his interests lie. Certainly not with the average US citizen in Switzerland.
Unfortunately, he's not 'our' - that is, the average US citizen's - ambassador.

The role of the ambassador and embassy officials is to represent the interest of the US government - which in this case means promoting FATCA.

I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for help from that quarter, I'm afraid.




But do keep pestering your senators and congresscritters, fellow Americans - at least these folks are supposed to represent the interests of their constituents.
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Old 22.06.2012, 14:07
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

A comment from the article surprised me:

"... have told my husband that US citizens may no longer be allowed to even own property in Switzerland! I could not believe my ears when I heard this.

We already own a house in Morges and I have in fact been a house owner in Switzerland since 1992! My current mortgage for our Morges house is with the BCV (Banque Cantonale Vaudoise) and they have not informed me of any such change. To this the UBS man replied: “Don’t worry, this will be coming soon” — meaning that all banks will soon be coming down on all their US customers (and relatives, I may add)."


The article does not site any specific legislation or policy, either CH or US that would lead to prohibiting a US citizen owning property in Switzerland. I have spoken with my banker, who said he has no knowledge of such a thing, and no expectation either.

What about the rest of you? Have you heard this? And if not, may I ask you to speak with your bankers/mortgage people and ask?
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Old 22.06.2012, 14:15
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

Crikies...I guess in a worst case scenario all our banking stuff may need to be in my (German) husband's name. Time to start embezzling
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Old 22.06.2012, 14:24
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

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The article does not site any specific legislation or policy, either CH or US that would lead to prohibiting a US citizen owning property in Switzerland. I have spoken with my banker, who said he has no knowledge of such a thing, and no expectation either.
It wouldn't be that US citizens will be forbidden from owning property by law, just that they will find it nigh-on impossible to find any bank that will start or continue a mortgage for them. The banks don't require legislation to drop their US mortgage customers. They can do it entirely of their own volition, if they deem that trying to comply with the US laws is too onerous. In the end, they have pretty much free choice on who they lend money to.

I feel really sorry for the US citizens caught up in this, but it seems that as a group you don't carry enough weight in political opinion back home to force a change. Putting your ambassador under sustained pressure is probably your best chance at getting your voice heard.
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Old 22.06.2012, 16:54
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

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Unfortunately, he's not 'our' - that is, the average US citizen's - ambassador.

The role of the ambassador and embassy officials is to represent the interest of the US government - which in this case means promoting FATCA.

I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for help from that quarter, I'm afraid.




But do keep pestering your senators and congresscritters, fellow Americans - at least these folks are supposed to represent the interests of their constituents.
The Brazilian Banking Federation's written response to the IRS and US treasury was a fun read. FATCA violates Brazil's constitution and sovereignty as Brazilian banks are not allowed to discriminate based on nationality and Brazilian banks cannot carry out a mandate on behalf of a foreign government (such as withholding or collecting US taxes).

As Brazil is a big country and has reciprocity ingrained in it's laws, would be interesting to see how the Brazilian government would react to the US seizing 30% of a Brazilian Bank's US-sourced income. Perhaps an extra 30% of Coca-cola's, P&G's, GE's, IBM's, GM's or any other US-listed companies' Brazilian income should be seized by the state? Chevron executives in Brazil have been threatened with jail sentences over a minor oil spill down there, so anything is possible when the big fish goes up against a not so small bit vastly growing fish.
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Old 22.06.2012, 17:32
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

Actuall I believe the real issue is that US banks are not international. If there was a branch of First New York or similar in Zurich then there would be no problem?
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Old 22.06.2012, 17:33
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

My mother is a Swiss born dual US citizen. She is absolutely fed up with Swiss authorities. Despite the fact that she is a Swiss citizen, she too fell victim to bank efforts to "identify, quarantine and avoid US citizens".

She can't understand why the country of her birth views her as an American before they view her as Swiss. She feels let down by her country.

As long as the Swiss are willing to discriminate against their own(if they hold US citizenship) in order to keep the Ami's happy, things will never change.
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Old 22.06.2012, 17:36
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

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My mother is a Swiss born dual US citizen. She is absolutely fed up with Swiss authorities. Despite the fact that she is a Swiss citizen, she too fell victim to bank efforts to "identify, quarantine and avoid US citizens".

She can't understand why the country of her birth views her as an American before they view her as Swiss. She feels let down by her country.

As long as the Swiss are willing to discriminate against their own(if they hold US citizenship) in order to keep the Ami's happy, things will never change.
You've got it back to front - what the Swiss banks don't like is that the USA view her as American, despite her second nationality. If the US weren't threatening to pursue her earnings around the world, Switzerland wouldn't care at all. If anything, the problem is that the US doesn't care about her Swiss nationality.
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Old 22.06.2012, 17:50
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

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You've got it back to front - what the Swiss banks don't like is that the USA view her as American, despite her second nationality. If the US weren't threatening to pursue her earnings around the world, Switzerland wouldn't care at all. If anything, the problem is that the US doesn't care about her Swiss nationality.
I think the bigger issue here is having a country like Switzerland unable to stand up for it's own sovereignty and citizens' interest, despite all it's boastful talk of neutrality, independence and direct democracy.

If a country is unable to protect it's own citizens from being shafted by a big fish in their own country, what good is that country or government? Even more important, what good is that little red book with a white cross for being America's 51st state without representation in Congress?
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Old 22.06.2012, 18:56
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

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I think the bigger issue here is having a country like Switzerland unable to stand up for it's own sovereignty and citizens' interest, despite all it's boastful talk of neutrality, independence and direct democracy.

If a country is unable to protect it's own citizens from being shafted by a big fish in their own country, what good is that country or government? Even more important, what good is that little red book with a white cross for being America's 51st state without representation in Congress?
Switzerland is showing its independence - by not changing its banking law to accommodate the US. It's not Switzerland's fault that the US continues to view US citizens worldwide as under their tax jurisdiction. It's a general principle that countries treat their own nationals purely as their own nationals, and completely ignore any other nationalities they hold.

As far as Switzerland is concerned, if you're a dual CH-US national who is having problems with the US government, then the easiest solution is to ditch the US citizenship, because you do have the right to do so. Dual citizenship doesn't give you the right to pick and choose between the responsibilities of each nationality - you have to fulfill the responsiblities of both - and US citizenship comes with the burden of worldwide tax liability, whatever any other government says.
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Old 22.06.2012, 19:08
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

Spot on Quark!

The thing that amazes me most about "Americans" is their ignorance of their laws.

I assist Americans every day, advising and helping with their compliance and/or advisory work.

Yet, when I tell them of the facts, the laws, the liabilities, the penalties they are often in denial. They get angry with me, or the situation.

I am sure they have trouble distinguishing between advisors and the IRS. Trust me, we get no commission from your taxes.

Personally, I think the US preys on the pride of the average American. Damn, you are proud people. I am proud to be British too, but if my goverment tried to bend me over like it does to you, I would relinquish my passport without a second thought......... if I had another citizenship available to me.

Obviously the UK and US tax system are very different, the US system is pretty much out there on its own in the amount of reporting and worldwide taxation it imposes on its citizens. With that in mind, whereby every citizen, whether working in the US or abroad, has to file a tax return, and yet evidently you receive no education about this.
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Old 22.06.2012, 20:24
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

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Switzerland is showing its independence - by not changing its banking law to accommodate the US. It's not Switzerland's fault that the US continues to view US citizens worldwide as under their tax jurisdiction. It's a general principle that countries treat their own nationals purely as their own nationals, and completely ignore any other nationalities they hold.

As far as Switzerland is concerned, if you're a dual CH-US national who is having problems with the US government, then the easiest solution is to ditch the US citizenship, because you do have the right to do so. Dual citizenship doesn't give you the right to pick and choose between the responsibilities of each nationality - you have to fulfill the responsiblities of both - and US citizenship comes with the burden of worldwide tax liability, whatever any other government says.
Independence? The banking law was broken with impunity (what good is such a law in the first place) when UBS handed over client information to the IRS without demanding documentation or proof of tax fraud and Switzerland is currently negotiating an agreement with the US to comply with FATCA which would change Swiss banking law by criminalizing tax evasion for US account holders (http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/0...EA481720120621). Sounds like someone is being told to get on their knees and bow to a master's demands here.

It certainly is not Switzerland's fault that the US is pursuing its nationals around the world for tax collection, but I guess the Swiss government wants to take the spineless and comfortable way of dealing with this issue.

1) For US/CH nationals, can't open an account inside Switzerland?

-Your problem, we don't care if you are getting shafted, even if you are paying Swiss taxes and contributing to the Swiss economy, who told you to keep your US passport?

2) For CH nationals (and non-US citizens) living in the US who are getting their accounts in Switzerland shut down?

-Your problem, who said you should go and live in the US in the first place!

Ever occur to you that the reason the US behaves like this is because very few countries actually have the balls to stand up and say "NO"? Now that would be a real declaration of independence.
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Old 22.06.2012, 20:34
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

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2) For CH nationals (and non-US citizens) living in the US who are getting their accounts in Switzerland shut down?

-Your problem, who said you should go and live in the US in the first place!
you appear to be ignorant of the fact that you can be born outside the US and lived your whole life in switzerland and still be subject to US taxes.
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Old 22.06.2012, 20:37
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Re: "Swiss banks step up efforts to identify, quarantine, avoid US citizens"

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you appear to be ignorant of the fact that you can be born outside the US and lived your whole life in switzerland and still be subject to US taxes.
Definitely not since I acquired my US citizenship outside of the US by birth.

Not sure how this comment relates to point 2.
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