Letter from Washington still offers solace to accidental Americans
A letter from the U.S. Treasury Department has offered clarity to so-called "accidental Americans." These Dutch people are –– often because they were born in the United States –– unintentionally American citizens, and run into all kinds of problems with their taxes and bank accounts.
People who are considered Americans by the United States are required to pay taxes, although they often already pay taxes in their home country. Agreements have been made about this between the United States and other countries, including the Netherlands. According to these agreements, Dutch banks must pass on data from "Americans" with more than $50,000 (currently about 50,000 euros) to the American tax authorities, via the Dutch tax authorities.
As a result, there was a fear that banks would still close accounts with these accidental Americans with high balances after Sept. 1. The umbrella organization of the Dutch Banking Association has indicated that accidental Americans with more than $50,000 in their account must be able to provide proof of a tax identification number (TIN) or Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN), or that they are currently applying for one.
Major banks had made a commitment not to close accounts until Sept. 1. In the meantime, the Netherlands spoke with the United States about clarifying the rules. At the last minute, on Aug. 29, State Secretary Marnix van Rij and the Dutch ambassador in Washington received a letter from the U.S. Treasury, in which the department confirmed that it is working on "clarification of the best efforts obligation for banks."
The requirements for accidental Americans are being eased, and the U.S. Department hopes that "this confirmation will prevent Dutch banks from closing accounts of accidental Americans who have not provided TIN, pending further guidance from the U.S.," wrote Van Queue. The NVB industry club, in turn, said that "this passage provides sufficient clarity" for banks not to close accounts pending new American guidelines.
"I am pleased that thanks to this constructive message from the U.S., banks will not close accounts of accidental Americans after Sept. 1," Van Rij concluded.
Reporting by ANP