Dutch gov't called to help 'accidental Americans' keep their bank accounts
A majority in parliament wants the Dutch government to immediately ensure that Dutch citizens who also happen to be American do not lose their bank account due to a United States tax regulation. The MPs will call on Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra to take immediate action during a parliamentary debate on Tuesday, NRC reports.
"Accidental Americans" are people who the United States consider to be "American" because one of their parents was American, or they happened to be born in the United States. As they are considered American, the US government sees them as taxable, even if they spent their entire lives outside the US and have always paid taxes in the country where they live.
In 2013, the US concluded a treaty with the Netherlands, in which it was agreed that Dutch banks would submit the details of all their "American" customers to the US tax authorities, so that they can be taxed. If banks fail to do so, they could face fines and exclusion from the international financial system.
As a result, Dutch banks close the accounts of accidental Americans who refuse to cooperate with the US taxation, in order to avoid American sanctions that could endanger the banks' survival. There are around 40 thousand accidental Americans in the Netherlands. Dozens of them are at risk of losing their bank accounts this year.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and SP want the Minister to enter into talks with the banks. "We must demand a socially responsible attitude from the Dutch banks for these people, who unwittingly ended up in this situation," CDA parliamentarian Evert-Jan Slootweg said to the newspaper. "Closing an account has too big consequences."
VVD parliamentarian Helma Lodders told NRC that Hoekstra can't stall any longer. "We don't have time to think about this for long. These people are losing their bank account now and a solution must be found now."