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Resident and non-resident alien on US bank accounts

Resident and non-resident alien on US bank accounts

Old Jul 26th 2007, 7:00 pm
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Default Resident and non-resident alien on US bank accounts

I have a US Bank account but am thinking of opening another one. I seem to recall, when I opened the earlier account, that it was said that "for tax purposes" I am considered a resident alien, even though I am, in fact, a non-resident alien. In looking at opening accounts on-line, they ask if you are a US citizen or resident alien. I don't want to say "resident alien" when I am not, but do recall someone saying that that was fine on such occasions. Anyone have any experience of this? Cheers.
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Old Jul 26th 2007, 7:05 pm
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Default Re: Resident and non-resident alien on US bank accounts

Originally Posted by Goodacre View Post
I have a US Bank account but am thinking of opening another one. I seem to recall, when I opened the earlier account, that it was said that "for tax purposes" I am considered a resident alien, even though I am, in fact, a non-resident alien. In looking at opening accounts on-line, they ask if you are a US citizen or resident alien. I don't want to say "resident alien" when I am not, but do recall someone saying that that was fine on such occasions. Anyone have any experience of this? Cheers.
"For tax purposes" is the key, for taxes, if you meet the "resident" criteria you are a resident.

The bank probably wants to know for their own records, so you would be a non-resident alien.

That's the way I did it anyway.
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Old Jul 26th 2007, 7:17 pm
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Default Re: Resident and non-resident alien on US bank accounts

Thanks. What I am looking at is one of these things that says "you must be . . . a U.S. citizen or resident alien . . ." and I don't want to tick that box if I am likely to get into trouble. I am therefore inclined to play safe.
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Old Jul 26th 2007, 7:30 pm
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Default Re: Resident and non-resident alien on US bank accounts

Originally Posted by Goodacre View Post
Thanks. What I am looking at is one of these things that says "you must be . . . a U.S. citizen or resident alien . . ." and I don't want to tick that box if I am likely to get into trouble. I am therefore inclined to play safe.
Thinking about it, maybe they want to know your tax status for when they send you an "Interest Earned" form for your tax returns... ??

Call the bank if you're in doubt, allow yourself 3 hours to get to someone who knows what you're talking about.
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Old Jul 26th 2007, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: Resident and non-resident alien on US bank accounts

Originally Posted by anotherlimey View Post
Thinking about it, maybe they want to know your tax status for when they send you an "Interest Earned" form for your tax returns... ??

Call the bank if you're in doubt, allow yourself 3 hours to get to someone who knows what you're talking about.
Right -- know that feeling!

I think I'll hold off on trying to open an online account now -- that line about on pain of perjury or however they put it inclines me to take things seriously.
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Old Jul 26th 2007, 7:38 pm
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Default Re: Resident and non-resident alien on US bank accounts

Originally Posted by Goodacre View Post
Right -- know that feeling!

I think I'll hold off on trying to open an online account now -- that line about on pain of perjury or however they put it inclines me to take things seriously.
They are probably just making sure you live in the US... I'd be inclined to put yes anyway. What's the worst that could happen?
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Old Jul 27th 2007, 5:28 pm
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Default Re: Resident and non-resident alien on US bank accounts

Originally Posted by Goodacre View Post
I have a US Bank account but am thinking of opening another one. I seem to recall, when I opened the earlier account, that it was said that "for tax purposes" I am considered a resident alien, even though I am, in fact, a non-resident alien. In looking at opening accounts on-line, they ask if you are a US citizen or resident alien. I don't want to say "resident alien" when I am not, but do recall someone saying that that was fine on such occasions. Anyone have any experience of this? Cheers.
I think the issue is that for a non-resident alien, they should withhold tax on the (almost non-existent) interest that they pay you. The definition of nonresident/resident alien according to the IRS is in publication 519 (http://www.unclefed.com/Tax-Help/HTML/p519/ch01.html). I expect that in opening a bank account you will have to fill out a W-9 form that requires you to declare that you are a "US person". As a non-resident alien you should be filling out a W-8 instead. It could be that many banks don't want the hassle of withholding tax, so restrict accounts to "US persons". I know that for the first few months I was here, I was technically a non-resident alien rather than a resident alien, but no-one including the IRS could see the distinction or cared...
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Old Jul 27th 2007, 6:57 pm
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Default Re: Resident and non-resident alien on US bank accounts

Originally Posted by rew1000 View Post
I think the issue is that for a non-resident alien, they should withhold tax on the (almost non-existent) interest that they pay you. The definition of nonresident/resident alien according to the IRS is in publication 519 (http://www.unclefed.com/Tax-Help/HTML/p519/ch01.html). I expect that in opening a bank account you will have to fill out a W-9 form that requires you to declare that you are a "US person". As a non-resident alien you should be filling out a W-8 instead. It could be that many banks don't want the hassle of withholding tax, so restrict accounts to "US persons". I know that for the first few months I was here, I was technically a non-resident alien rather than a resident alien, but no-one including the IRS could see the distinction or cared...
Thanks; that's helpful. It must be something along those lines. I know that my current bank really don't care about the distinction because I made a thing of asking them about it.
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