Dutch banks are required to cooperate with US and Dutch law on taxation, and can, therefore, close the account of an ‘accidental American’, a lower court judge has decided.
The case was brought by a man who was born in the US to Dutch parents and lived there for the first year of his life. Because he officially holds US nationality, he is required to provide his Dutch bank with a US social security number so they can hand it over to the American revenue service IRS.
He has, however, refused to request the US tax number which his bank, De Volksbank, needs to cooperate with the US FATCA legislation. As a result, the bank says it will close his account.
While there are many in Dutch and European politics who question the requirement to report ‘accidental Americans’, and while recognising the man’s difficult position, the court is required to act on the applicable laws, the judge said in his ruling.
And that, the court said, means both bank and client are required to cooperate with the US legislation. The court did say, however, that the man can keep his private pension at a different Volksbank subsidiary, the NRC reported.
Volksbank told the paper in a reaction that the key issue has not been solved but that ‘as a bank, we have no choice other than to put the interests of our three million customers ahead of a relatively small group or an individual.’
The bank did not say if it would now press ahead with the account closure.
In the Netherlands some 20,000 people are thought to fall into the accidental American category.
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