Court rules Volksbank could close Accidental American’s bank account
An Utrecht court ruled on Wednesday that the Volksbank was allowed to close the bank account of a Dutch-American dual citizen after he refused to provide his American tax identification number. The man was born in the United States, but has not lived there since his first birthday.
American citizens living in the Netherlands are obligated to file an income tax return in both countries. They must apply for and obtain a U.S. tax identification number and provide it to their Dutch bank as the financial institutions are required to pass along some data to American authorities.
"The man refuses to provide this identification number to de Volksbank. He doubts whether American law also applies in the Netherlands," the court said in a statement. "De Volksbank closed the accounts because otherwise it could face major consequences from the US. If the bank does not comply with the law, the US could freeze some of the money flows from the US to the Volksbank."
The court acknowledged that many people in Dutch and European politics think the issue needs to be addressed at a higher level with the United States to rectify the issue. Nevertheless, the court determined that existing law meant that the Volksbank was allowed to close the man's account.
In a statement to newspaper NRC, the Volksbank said that it had "no choice but to put the interests of our three million customers above those of an individual or a relatively smaller group."
The man was allowed to keep two bank products which were not subject to the American ruling.