After a long period of uncertainty, it is now again possible to get a Social Security Number at the U.S. consulates in Germany.
German banks requesting SSN (Social Security Number) or CLN
German financial institutions are currently requesting customers to provide either an SSN number / TIN number or a CLN (number showing that U.S. citizenship has been terminated).
German Banks need this number to pass all account information with the matching SSN/TIN or CLN number to the IRS (U.S. tax authority). If this number is missing, the bank may receive high penalties for incomplete data submission.
The bank or financial institution must share this information if the total balance is $50,000 or more. This balance is not the ending balance for the calendar year; it is considered whether the threshold was exceeded one moment in the year (all accounts combined).
However: The client already has to report at a balance equal to or greater than $10,000.
What can you do before applying for an SSN in Germany?
In addition to regularly checking the website of the U.S. Consulate in Germany to see when the next appointment will be possible, you can pick up the following points in advance:
- Collect in advance all the documents you need to apply for the SSN. Depending on the orderliness of your own records, this can be a challenge.
- Start the tax return/redemption process. If you also have another nationality besides the U.S., you can start a tax return already. In many cases, it takes some time for an accountant to process all the data. This process may well run parallel to the SSN application. Tip: get everything ready in advance so it can be filed with the IRS right away the moment the SSN arrives. In any case, if a turn-in ends, the accountant can quickly file the FBARs, the returns that carry the highest penalties.
Renouncing the U.S. citizenship
Also, when renouncing a US citizenship, one usually needs an SSN to file the return years. However, this can also be done without an SSN, through a Relief procedure, but this procedure has some unpleasant conditions that should be looked at well in advance.
For more information, contact Americans Overseas.
Get information from Americans Overseas
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 fined 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 the 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 getting an SSN in Germany and your US tax obligation, you can contact us at Americans Overseas.