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British bank accounts for expats

British bank accounts for expats

Old Nov 16th 2020, 8:23 am
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by G-J-B View Post
If you can use a UK address to get around it, that's great. I have two UK bank accounts (thankfully neither affected at the moment), and in the past 2-3 years or so, both of them were very keen that I prove my residential address (I'd given them my French one years ago) and to provide my French tax identification number. I believe it was something to do with a ring-fencing policy, I'm not entirely sure. I don't know if there would be any ramifications for providing an address in a different country that wasn't your primary residence?
UK banks seem to get information from somewhere so I don't think this would work in the long term.
When I moved to France I didn't bother telling my UK bank that I'd moved because I didn't have any investments with them so it didn't occur to me that they needed to know. Then out of the blue a few years later a message popped up on my online banking account, asking me to confirm that I was tax resident in France, and it wouldn't let me access my account until I answered. I can only think that they share info with HMRC or how did they suddenly know. I clicked on Yes, and I don't know what would have happened if I'd clicked on No - would it have accepted it just like that, or would it have asked for proof, or would they have investigated further with HMRC.
And of course if you have investments you would be shooting yourself in the foot a bit, because if you told the bank you're UK resident they would deduct tax from your interest at source and you wouldn't be able to claim it back.

EDIT - Actually I've just remembered that since returning to the UK last year there was an occasion when I had to confirm to my bank that I am now UK tax resident, can't remember why, maybe I was trying to open a new savings account that's only available to UK residents. Again, I just clicked to say I am and it was accepted. But since I really am, there's no way of knowing whether they checked up or not, and what they would have done if HMRC had said "Nah, not had a tax return from this person for donkey's years".

Last edited by EuroTrash; Nov 16th 2020 at 9:14 am.
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Old Nov 16th 2020, 12:22 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
UK banks seem to get information from somewhere so I don't think this would work in the long term.
When I moved to France I didn't bother telling my UK bank that I'd moved because I didn't have any investments with them so it didn't occur to me that they needed to know. Then out of the blue a few years later a message popped up on my online banking account, asking me to confirm that I was tax resident in France, and it wouldn't let me access my account until I answered. I can only think that they share info with HMRC or how did they suddenly know. I clicked on Yes, and I don't know what would have happened if I'd clicked on No - would it have accepted it just like that, or would it have asked for proof, or would they have investigated further with HMRC.
And of course if you have investments you would be shooting yourself in the foot a bit, because if you told the bank you're UK resident they would deduct tax from your interest at source and you wouldn't be able to claim it back.

EDIT - Actually I've just remembered that since returning to the UK last year there was an occasion when I had to confirm to my bank that I am now UK tax resident, can't remember why, maybe I was trying to open a new savings account that's only available to UK residents. Again, I just clicked to say I am and it was accepted. But since I really am, there's no way of knowing whether they checked up or not, and what they would have done if HMRC had said "Nah, not had a tax return from this person for donkey's years".
Tax returns are not necessarily a factor because around 80% of UK taxpayers don't complete one.
If you interact with your bank, then they have to confirm your tax residence status partially because of USA regulations against money laundering or citizens hiding money in other countries.
I have investments in Ireland and I had to confirm a) that I was not a US citizen and b) that I was tax resident in the UK.
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Old Nov 16th 2020, 12:28 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
Tax returns are not necessarily a factor because around 80% of UK taxpayers don't complete one.
That is true of course but even if you don't complete a tax return, HMRC will have tax records for you, and will have allocated you a tax code. Since your bank is required to deduct tax at source from investment interest, would the bank need to get your tax code from HMRC?
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Old Nov 16th 2020, 12:39 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Bank interest is now paid gross and you have an annual interest allowance and CGT allowance which means that again most people don't have to declare these in a tax return.
The current Personal Savings Allowance is currently £1,000 pa or £500 pa for higher rate taxpayers.
The current dividend allowance is £2000 pa
The current CGT allowance is £12,300

Last edited by cyrian; Nov 16th 2020 at 12:43 pm.
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Old Nov 16th 2020, 1:40 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

I guess they could have different ways of knowing. A P85 would surely make it obvious with HMRC for example and maybe that information eventually gets transmitted to the bank.
As Cyrian says, it's quite likely the whole thing was part of the US regulations, maybe in light of their harsh double taxation treaties - I have heard that mentioned before now. I remember having a difficult job getting my bank to accept my TIN, and being frustrated because they'd known I was in a resident in France since the moment I left. In the end I gave up, but thankfully my account never got closed.
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Old Nov 16th 2020, 2:04 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
Bank interest is now paid gross and you have an annual interest allowance and CGT allowance which means that again most people don't have to declare these in a tax return.
The current Personal Savings Allowance is currently £1,000 pa or £500 pa for higher rate taxpayers.
The current dividend allowance is £2000 pa
The current CGT allowance is £12,300
That's useful to know, thanks. Things have changed in the last 10 years.
Not surprisingly.
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Old Nov 16th 2020, 2:33 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
Bank interest is now paid gross and you have an annual interest allowance and CGT allowance which means that again most people don't have to declare these in a tax return.
The current Personal Savings Allowance is currently £1,000 pa or £500 pa for higher rate taxpayers.
The current dividend allowance is £2000 pa
The current CGT allowance is £12,300
That must explain the instructions I got from a meeting at my local tax office after failing to fill in the forms correctly. I was told to simply write a nominal 5 euro in the space for bank interest. I assumed that because my first returns were only for November and December 2018 it wasn't worthwhile for either of us to calculate it. The next year I simply filled in the form using exactly the same boxes and even for a full year's income I still put 5 euro in the bank interest box. I added a note explaining that I had simply copied my last year's accounts and to contact me if there were any mistakes, but it was accepted. I also mentioned another UK account with the Co-op, but didn't include any details, saying it had a nominal amount in it just to keep it open. That was also accepted.
Back on topic I researched as much as I could first, but eventually contacted both Nationwide and Co-op and had our accounts registered at our French address. I haven't heard of any problems with post brexit banking from either of them....yet.
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Old Nov 16th 2020, 3:32 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

British banks can be a nightmare at the best of times. When I moved from the French capital to the countryside I let them know about my change of address. My personal account got changed, no problem but my business account with the same bank didn't. I received a letter saying I had to close my account by a certain date (by the time I received the letter I had no more than 3 weeks warning). I called multiple times, and and it was like banging my head against a brick wall. I explained that the account was opened when I lived in the UK, that they changed my address for my personal account, and that I had maintained this account for several years while living in France using my French address, and it never caused a problem before. I received some crazy replies - one chap told me he'd never heard of anyone in France having a UK bank account! I politely told him that was ridiculous. Others were very sympathetic, but would do nothing to help. I had to switch all my direct debits, including my credit cards to another account, and I emptied it of all but £5, fearing I'd end up with a not very useful cheque in the post.
The reason customer service was completely inept is because a manager had wrongly deemed I could not keep my account, and the reps on the phone had no choice but to follow their instruction. I eventually wrote a letter of complaint, and received an apology. They told me the manager had been reprimanded for his actions and they paid me financial compensation.

At this moment in time I've been dealing with the complete incompetence of a particular French bank for the past two months or more... I don't know what it is about banks, but some of the people working there really shouldn't!

Last edited by G-J-B; Nov 16th 2020 at 3:39 pm.
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Old Nov 20th 2020, 8:13 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by KJMW View Post
The New European!!! Might as well have been the Beano!!
I guess you didn't read the part of the thread where someone listed the countries where banking services were being withdrawn by Lloyds. I live in NL, one of those countries; we had our account closure notice a couple of months ago from Lloyds, due to living in one of those of countries mentioned. Just because it won't affect you personally doesn't make it incorrect, just because it's in the New European doesn't make it fake news

For anyone searching, this is what we have found. I took Helen's advice (thank you) and looked into Ulster Bank, which is a possibility. My husband saw that NatWest offered UK banking for EU residents, however they needed loads of paperwork, all signed by a lawyer (too messy). Starling Bank is also an option, a suggestion from our local Facebook group - does anyone have any experience of these? I've lived abroad too long to know the names of new UK banks and which have good or bad reputations for service.

Any personal experiences from someone who has opened an account from the mainland? Anyone who found an alternative UK bank account which was relatively easy to open without signing away your first-born, and providing internet banking and/or debit card, and whose experience has been mainly positive?

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Old Nov 20th 2020, 9:22 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

@Red Wine Fairy - would TransferWise not meet your needs? Probably not if you need a savings account or if you keep large amounts of money in your account, but it gives you internet banking and a debit card, and is (or was) very very easy to set up. My experience with TW has been very positive, in fact I'm a great fan.
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Old Nov 20th 2020, 11:02 pm
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

It is my understanding that you need to be a UK resident to open a UK account. This makes life very difficult if you want to move banks.
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Old Nov 21st 2020, 9:05 am
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by Red_Wine_Fairy View Post
I guess you didn't read the part of the thread where someone listed the countries where banking services were being withdrawn by Lloyds. I live in NL, one of those countries; we had our account closure notice a couple of months ago from Lloyds, due to living in one of those of countries mentioned. Just because it won't affect you personally doesn't make it incorrect, just because it's in the New European doesn't make it fake news

For anyone searching, this is what we have found. I took Helen's advice (thank you) and looked into Ulster Bank, which is a possibility. My husband saw that NatWest offered UK banking for EU residents, however they needed loads of paperwork, all signed by a lawyer (too messy). Starling Bank is also an option, a suggestion from our local Facebook group - does anyone have any experience of these? I've lived abroad too long to know the names of new UK banks and which have good or bad reputations for service.

Any personal experiences from someone who has opened an account from the mainland? Anyone who found an alternative UK bank account which was relatively easy to open without signing away your first-born, and providing internet banking and/or debit card, and whose experience has been mainly positive?
I guess also that you didn't read my post properly! I never said or even intimated that anything was incorrect!! I simply stated my own experience. As for the New European, well it is a pro-european rag run by ex Daily Mirror people and so I wouldn't expect anything positive about Brexit or the banks being in it. Having said that neither did I say what was written was fake news. As often in these publications not all the information is given and gullible people simply believe the slant given.
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Old Nov 21st 2020, 9:20 am
  #103  
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Not sure how you can have a "slant" on what is stated in the banking regulations, or whether bank A, B or C has said it will continue providing this or that service to this or that section of its customers - either it will or it won't, or in some cases it doesn't know yet.
Obviously the New European has its own views. But, find a media source that doesn't have any bias. At least the NE makes clear in its title where it stands, rather than doing what *certain* groups do and dishonestly posing as an independant body when they're actually funded by a political party..

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Old Nov 21st 2020, 9:26 am
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
Not sure how you can have a "slant" on what is stated in the banking regulations, or whether bank A, B or C has said it will continue providing this or that service to this or that section of its customers - either it will or it won't, or in some cases it doesn't know yet.
Obviously the New European has its own views. But, find a media source that doesn't have any bias. At least the NE makes clear in its title where it stands, rather than doing what *certain* groups do and dishonestly posing as an independant body when they're actually funded by a political party..
I think you are bright enough to understand what I meant by a 'slant'! Plus I have said the information was correct, just that not all of it was given. Yes, all media sources do that, the NE is no different in that respect other than being a left wing rag.
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Old Nov 21st 2020, 11:55 am
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Default Re: British bank accounts for expats

Originally Posted by KJMW View Post
I think you are bright enough to understand what I meant by a 'slant'! Plus I have said the information was correct, just that not all of it was given. Yes, all media sources do that, the NE is no different in that respect other than being a left wing rag.
In the interests of bringing this thread back to advice for those who may suffer from some banks closing their accounts, allow me to summarise your contributions:
1 All newspapers, left, centre and right, are 'rags' with 'slants' and therefor unreliable.
2 You have not had your bank account taken away, nor have you been informed that it might be.
Can we now leave the ideological barbs to TIO?
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