Around 40,000 American Dutch are at risk of being rejected by their banks. Accounts will be closed and mortgage applications declined if they fail to disclose their American social security number or tax identification number to their bank by 31 December 2019. Dutch national TV programme EenVandaag reports.
Thousands of Dutch citizens are at risk of losing their bank accounts, specifically Dutch citizens who also have American nationality. Sometimes they themselves don’t even know they are dual citizens as a result of, say, their parents being American or the fact that they were born in the United States.
Without an American Social Security Number (SSN) they will no longer be welcome at their Dutch bank – with all the ensuing consequences.
Watch the EenVandaag report:
Wessel Korrel is about to move house. But he couldn’t celebrate his move due to rules imposed by the American tax authorities. “I’m losing sleep because of this.”
Korrel is almost done packing up his moving boxes, but he’s troubled: “I found a nice house. Everything’s ready. The contract has been signed and the down payment made.” But now the bank is threatening to throw a spanner in the works.
As it happens, Korrel has both American and Dutch nationality. He was born in the United States while his father was posted there for work, and he lived there for six months as a baby. Which is why the bank now wants his American social security number (SSN/TIN). But Korrel doesn’t have one and applying for one is turning out to be a nightmare.
The bank sent him a letter in early February warning that unless he provided the requested information within a week his mortgage application could not be processed. Korrel is afraid that the bank will decline the mortgage before he has the keys to his new house: “It’s too late to turn back. Everything’s been signed. If they had told me this when I applied for the mortgage, I never would have started the process.”
The Dutch Banking Association (NVB) is aware of the problems facing some 40,000 American Dutch dual nationals, an estimated half of whom do not have an American social security number.
However, according to the NVB, the customers themselves have to take action: “If the banks do not supply this information to the American authorities, the US is threatening to hit them with stiff penalties and remove them from the white list. That is not acceptable.”
Daan Durlacher is the founder of Americans Overseas, a group that represents the interests of Dutch citizens who also have American nationality. He says he receives dozens of ‘panicky calls’ every day from people who don’t know what to do. “America is the only country in the world – apart from Eritrea – that taxes all Americans, no matter where they are in the world. This policy leads to dire situations. Many people don’t even realise they are American nationals.”
Problems facing American-Dutch due to FATCA
These problems are the result of the FATCA agreement with the US. FATCA was designed to fight tax evasion, but it also has a major impact on American-Dutch dual nationals. Anyone who has American nationality is liable to pay US taxes, even if they don’t live there.
By 31 December 2019 Dutch banks must provide the social security number of every customer who is an American-Dutch dual national, but they often don’t have that information. If the banks fail to do so, they can be hit with stiff fines and removed from the white list. As a result, banks have warned customers that accounts will be closed if they do not provide the relevant information in good time.
Wessel Korrel has done everything he can to apply for an American SSN/TIN, but the process can take six to nine months. He has to demonstrate that he hasn’t lived in the US for a long time, yet his primary school report cards were not accepted as evidence. There is a one-hour walk-in consultation session once a month at the American consulate. And when that hour is up, you have to wait another month before you can come back.
We, the founders of Americans Overseas, were born in the Netherlands and obtained our American nationality through our (American) mother.
When we heard about this for the first time around 2013, we were in total disbelief (it can’t be true!), anger (how can they do this?), fear (am I going to get fines or pick up other problems?), and panic (what should I do?).
It is (unfortunately) true that there is an additional American tax levy. But there’s no information from local government, and when approached, the consulate referred us to the IRS, and the IRS was impenetrable.
That’s why we started this initiative to help people from all over the world by providing proper information to avoid unnecessary panic, and offering help free of obligation and free of charge. If needed, we have a network of affordable professionals (accountants) who can help you with your tax obligations.
If you have more questions about USA tax you can contact us at Americans Overseas.