If you haven’t begun planning your financial assets around FATCA,
you had better start doing it yesterday.
The traditional banking system was already bad enough but now, with banks around the world rushing to comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) it is beginning to reach extreme levels. And it isn’t just affecting the most financially restricted people on Earth: US citizens… it is affecting everyone.
Take myself for example (TDV Editor-in-Chief, Jeff Berwick) I operate numerous businesses worldwide. I am a Canadian citizen as well as the citizen of a Caribbean country and our business operations are also operated out of a non-tax jurisdiction in the Caribbean. On top of that we hold no bank accounts, whatsoever, in the US… instead, we have bank accounts all over the world.
Yet, in the last two months we have had our accounts or transactions frozen, denied or questioned in different jurisdictions at least ten times. And we have had countless other problems over the last two years.
Here are just a list of the most recent:
We got FATCA’ED:
We received a FATCA notice from one of our banks in Eastern Europe. They told us that we must comply and contact them immediately. We contacted them and let them know that the company is not a US company and no US citizen is involved with the company nor the bank account. They told us that one of the phone numbers they had on file for us was a US number and therefore they’d have to close our account. We informed them that the number they had was a virtual Skype number, one of many we have, that forwarded to the property departments in our companies around the world. We are still dealing with this issue.
At the same Eastern European bank a few weeks ago they demanded to see detailed contracts and information on a large number of our transactions. We are still also dealing with that.
Wires Constantly Scrutinized:
At one of our bank accounts in Canada with which I have had a 20 year relationship in good standing they have blocked numerous of our recent wires and demanded to see information on who the money is going to and why. In more than one instance, when sending funds to the Middle East, we were informed that any and all wires sent to the Middle East were under heavy scrutiny causing us numerous problems.
The Paypal Monster:
Paypal has frozen many of our numerous Paypal accounts that we have worldwide on an ongoing basis. This shouldn’t come as news to any merchants who use Paypal as the company is notorious for constantly freezing funds and accounts for all manner of reasons. In one instance, as part of operations in our hotel in Acapulco (Las Torres Gemelas Private Suites) they froze our account until we could show them proof of numerous very small denomination transfers. The transactions were for room rentals that had occurred weeks or months prior and Paypal would demand that we show proof that the person had stayed with us and approved the transaction. Often these were past guests who had just booked for a few nights, who we had no other relation with, that we would have to somehow try to contact afterwards and bother them to supply Paypal with their information and approval of the transaction!
No Cuba For You:
In another instance, just a few weeks ago, another Paypal account we had was frozen after we paid for a flight from Havana, Cuba (ironically I had just stopped there for one night because I wanted to avoid the pain and risk of flying through the US) via Paypal because it was nearly impossible to purchase a flight to or from Cuba by any other means. Because we denoted the payment done was for a flight from “Havana” the account was frozen. The total dollar amount was for just a few hundred dollars.
No Brokerage For You:
Last year, a brokerage account I use in Luxembourg threatened to close my account. When I asked why they said that the brokerage had recently been bought by a Canadian brokerage and there is a Canadian law that says that no Canadian can deal with a brokerage owned by a Canadian company outside of Canada. Luckily they accepted my Caribbean residency and therefore let the account remain open. US citizens are not so lucky. The SEC has made it so hardly any brokerage outside of the US will accept US citizens effectively locking their accounts inside the US as a capital control.