Donna-Lane Nelson, 72, is still having US citizenship-related problems despite renouncing her US nationality in 2011. She resented the double taxation and cost for accountant to keep her in compliance but that didn’t make here renounce. What did was her bank.
The real need to make a decision came when she saw the banks closing in on Americans, including dual nationals, by closing accounts, refusing loans and blocking any investments. Her own bank in Switzerland spoke to her about possible closure of accounts.
Despite renouncing in 2011, this month UBS called her in to explain a “red flag” – she was sending $300 a month to a relative in the US. More forms to prove she is no longer American, but she was allowed to keep her account.
She’s still not free. She’s now married to an American and their French bank is reporting their joint account to the IRS. They are afraid their bank will arbitrarily close their account. Although they can take his name off the account, it gives her a power in the marriage she does not want.
They tried to get an account for her husband in Switzerland at a bank where she was long term customer. When asked if it were possible, the teller said, “Maybe, maybe not. For a starter he needs an official permit granting the right to live in Switzerland, five years of FBAR forms filled in. The list went on and on for what was needed. “After you do all that we send the information to our headquarters and they will rule if he can have an account.” She added that she wasn’t optimistic that they would allow it.
Nelson does not believe that the renunciation figures issued by the State Department are correct. Her name has never appeared on the “Name and Shame” list published by the State Department. Many others report the same thing.
Nelson is active in anti-FATCA groups and one member reported that they had a friend at the London embassy who said they were doing a minimum of 10 a day. Another said Brussels was doing at least five. She suspects the total could be in the five figures annually (not the 4,000 officially reported for 2014).
FATCA is estimated to have cost the banking world between $5-6 billion. Most of the people being hurt are middle class, not the wealthy that so many homelanders assume. “We lead ordinary lives, watch our centimes, and still take out our own garbage,” she said.