The new law forces foreign financial institutions (FFI) to identify and report all US citizens and “US persons” based on indicia outlined in FATCA to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). Because of the financial burden placed on these financial institutions, accounts are being closed on US clients globally!
For the majority of Americans overseas, these are their local banks. Keith sat down with us to share the story of his work and his life as an American overseas.accounts in their respective countries of residence.
Where do you live and how did you get there?
I have lived in Paris, France for the past 15 years. An international French company hired me and moved me to Paris. I am actually French as well as American. So France is my “second country”.
What triggered you to help American expatriates?
I have been involved with the American overseas community for the past two years and full time since June 2014 because of the serious consequences regarding FATCA on Americans overseas and the other affected populations.
Additionally, FATCA has put in the spotlight the problems with Citizen Based Taxation (CBT) which only the United States practices except for a small African country, Eritrea.
Can you share some experiences how it impacts your own life and the people who contact you?
I am unable to have retirement accounts and investment accounts. And I risk the possibility of having my bank accounts closed as FATCA is in the implementation process in France.
There are numerous stories which are growing exponentially about Americans overseas and the other affected populations vis-à-vis bank account closures, retirement account closures, investment account closures, mortgages denials as well as being rescinded, and employment denials directly as a result of FATCA.
There has also been a growing number of “accidental Americans” who are caught in the FATCA dragnet. Another population adversely affected are other countries’ expats living in the United States where they are have their accounts closed and mortgages rescinded in their respective home countries directly linked to FATCA.
What do you recommend people to do and not to do when they find out they have US tax filing obligations?
Each situation can be quite different. Having said this, a pragmatic approach is necessary. A cool head needs to prevail. Don’t let fear, desperation and angst be the driving force in making any hasty decisions.
Proper consultation needs to be done based on each situation. This may result in consulting a tax firm that has solid experience in working with Americans overseas. A tax attorney, or a US citizenship attorney if one is an “accidental American”.
I also recommend that a second and at times a third opinion be secured to ensure the information received is accurate and the fee charged is reasonable.
Do you still have a US passport and if so why? Would you ever renounce?
Yes, I have a US passport. At this juncture, I am not considering renouncing due to familial ties to the US. I have elderly parents and would not want to be in a position where I cannot return to the U.S. in an expeditious manner. Or be limited in my stay in the US.
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