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WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

Old Jan 3rd 2018, 3:13 am
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Default WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

Hi all

Happy New Year!

I have looked at previous threads but no exact matches to my query. We moved to NJ in October and apart from a few tiny hiccups (failing driving test number 1 and discovering the insane costs when you have 3 kids!) we are mostly loving the experience (not the sub-zero weather mind you!). Anyway, in the last few weeks I have been hounded by banks asking me to confirm my tax residency. Sometime been asked twice by the same bank (HSBC UK).

So my question is....why and I getting all these requests from my UK banks? Some of my expat friends say they haven't been asked for this? I do have a few UK bank accounts but I told those banks our new address and explained the move to the USA would be for a couple of years.

Second question is am I answering correctly when I tell them I am not tax resident in the USA and I am a UK citizen? Or should I actually be saying I am tax resident in the US? The forms seem to indicate I am UK tax resident because that is my permanent residency and I am not a US citizen/ have no green card and no TIN number.

(just for info I am L2 and not actually working at the moment, husband is L1 and I am waiting for my EAD).

Any advice at all is extremely welcome as this is driving me nuts!

Thank you
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Old Jan 3rd 2018, 10:31 am
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Default Re: WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

You are a US resident...not a UK resident. We have also had to fill in the same forms for our UK bank.
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Old Jan 3rd 2018, 10:59 am
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Default Re: WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

For the IRS, immigration status is not the same as residency for tax purposes.

Research FATCA. Here is the HSBC site on FATCA:

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) | HSBC

IMHO, you should be filing a W-9 with HSBC, not a W-8BEN.

HSBC has become proficient in detecting US 'indicia' (and a US address certainly qualifies) as a result of several encounters with the US Dept. of Treasury (Mexican drug lords, India accounts, etc.). Identifying a US address may, or opening a new account will, trigger FATCA inquiries by all the UK banks/building societies/brokers, etc. I have numerous UK accounts but no US address. For the moment, I retain US ties but I'm also a UK citizen, resident in the UK. Some UK banks have asked for a W-8BEN/W-9 (for me, it's a W-9) but most have not. It is the banks responsibility to make the request. You are not required, under UK law, to respond, but once the inquiry is made the bank will then automatically classify you as a 'US Person' and file a FATCA report on you if there is no response. The IRS issued a directive in 2017 stating an ITIN is not required in order for the bank to make the FATCA report although the bank is required to ask the question yearly.

As a US Person (resident for US tax) you may have informational filing responsibilities for an FBAR (FinCEN 114) if the aggregate maximum amount of all your UK accounts exceeds $10,000, even if you are not required to file an IRS tax form. Tax filing with the IRS and FBAR informational filing are 2 completely separate issues.
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Old Jan 4th 2018, 12:24 pm
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Default Re: WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

I had to fill in these forms for First Direct.

This explains why.

http://www.crs.hsbc.com/en/cmb/uk/frequently-asked-questions
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Old Jan 4th 2018, 12:50 pm
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Default Re: WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

It has no effect if you ignore the requests. You will be reported on whether or not you reply.
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Old Jan 4th 2018, 1:58 pm
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Default Re: WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

Thanks all - sounds like I need to be saying I am a US person for tax purposes then? I will ask my husband's tax person about the W9 form - what is this one for?
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Old Jan 4th 2018, 2:20 pm
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Default Re: WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

Originally Posted by JosiesJourney View Post
Thanks all - sounds like I need to be saying I am a US person for tax purposes then? I will ask my husband's tax person about the W9 form - what is this one for?
It is a request for taxpayer identification, for example I am a USC with bank accounts in the UK and my bank has to report my dealings with them to the IRS so I had to complete a W9 and send it to my bank. (FATCA requires all foreign financial institutions to identify and report on their customers/clients ) That W9 gives my bank authority to contact the IRS and verify I am who I say I am and that the SSN/TIN I have given the bank is correct.
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Old Jan 4th 2018, 9:28 pm
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Default Re: WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

Originally Posted by JosiesJourney View Post
Thanks all - sounds like I need to be saying I am a US person for tax purposes then? I will ask my husband's tax person about the W9 form - what is this one for?
It has no effect if you reply. The bank's obligation is to report. They will do that.
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Old Jan 5th 2018, 1:59 am
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Default Re: WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

Great thanks - so even their letters are worded poorly as they all state they only report if I have answered x or y or if I don't reply. Also assuming there is no tax to pay at the higher rate as I have no income at present!
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Old Jan 5th 2018, 8:32 am
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Default Re: WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

Originally Posted by JosiesJourney View Post
Great thanks - so even their letters are worded poorly as they all state they only report if I have answered x or y or if I don't reply. Also assuming there is no tax to pay at the higher rate as I have no income at present!
You will file an FBAR, Form 8938 or income tax return if you are required. The bank will file FATCA reporting with HMRC. These are two unrelated sets of filings.
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Old Jan 9th 2018, 10:54 pm
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Default Re: WB-BEN forms....why the constant hounding??!!

Originally Posted by theOAP View Post
HSBC has become proficient in detecting US 'indicia'
No they haven't, they're totally hopeless at it. What's happened with HSBC is that they were caught laundering drug lord money through Mexico and so they've gone completely bonkers when it comes to things like identifying customers and their tax residency.

I've got an HSBC account with about £40 in it and I've also got an American cellphone and they've never noticed that I've got a US number on my account. But all the other banks I deal with noticed it straight away. But those other banks simply require you to show up at the bank or talk to them on the phone whereas HSBC wants copies of everything and sworn statements.
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