Swedish Americans could lose their bank accounts because of an American tax law, Sverige Radio reports.
A US tax law, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), was adopted in the US as early as 2010. The idea was that the US would stop tax evasion and money laundering for US citizens abroad. The law has caused concern and problems for Swedish Americans living in Sweden.
FATCA which requires all non-U.S. foreign financial institutions to search their records for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and report them to the IRS.
Swedish Americans are at risk of losing their bank accounts, specifically Swedish 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.
Swedish Americans worried
Many Swedish Americans are worried. FATCA which requires all non-U.S. foreign financial institutions to search their records for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and report them to the IRS.
Swedish bank account holders with an American background must submit their SSN number to their bank this year. If they do not, banks will block bank accounts and services.
To come into compliance with U.S. tax laws, Swedish Americans have to deal with complex aspects of U.S. bureaucracy — acquiring a Social Security number (SSN) as a nonresident, for example.
Ulrika Hansson, lawyer at the Swedish Banking Association, believes that the legislation is problematic. The Swedish Banking Association is trying to get the United States to make exceptions so that Swedish Americans are not expelled from their bank.
Hansson: “We do what we can to solve the problem of “Accidental Americans”. It is a huge problem throughout Europe and we hope that the Americans listen to us.”
Help for Swedish Americans: 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 the US tax system 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 about the US tax system 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.
Are you a Swedish American? If you have more questions about FATCA and the American tax system you can contact us at Americans Overseas.
Source: Sverige Radio