US Anti-Tax Evasion Act (FATCA) imposes obligations on banks outside the US if they provide banking services to individuals of US nationality or US ties. The aim is to detect and deter tax fraud by US taxpayers abroad. This legislation has been in existence for several years, but since 2021 the obligations have become stricter.
Banks are only allowed to provide banking services to persons with US nationality or specific ties to the US, if the bank also has their US social security number. That was not necessary in the past. Belgians with dual nationality, who have little or no ties with America and often do not have such a number, also fall under this legislation.
If this applies to you, it is therefore important to have or apply for a US social security number and to pass this on to your bank as soon as possible. If you do not do so, and the bank cannot report all your data to the US governments, the bank may be forced to block and close your bank account because they are required to do so by law. Y
ou can apply for a social security number at the US embassy, but keep in mind that the procedure is complicated and can take a while. So don't wait too long with this. Be sure to ask your bank for information. They are happy to help you.
Below you will find an answer to the most important questions about FATCA.
Legislation requiring banks to disclose the identity and assets of their US customers. The aim is to detect and deter tax evasion by US taxpayers abroad.
Due to these regulations, you as a customer must provide certain information to the bank. The bank has most of the information (name, address, account balance, interest received, etc.), but it is important that you provide your bank with a social security number as soon as possible.
A social security number or 'Social Security Number (SSN)' is comparable to the tax number in the country where you live. For Belgium you can compare this with your national register number. However, your Belgian national register number is not sufficient. You need a social security number created by the US authorities.
You must apply for a social security number at the US embassy or government. The bank can explain this to you, but cannot make an application for you. The application may take some time.
Another possibility, but this is often not the most desirable or easiest solution, is relinquishing the American nationality. But this too can be quite a complex undertaking, which can take quite some time.
If you do not provide a social security number, and the bank is therefore unable to report all information about you, your bank will be obliged to block and close your bank account. After all, the banks have no choice but to comply with the legislation.
This legislation also applies to new customers with American nationality or specific ties to America. If you cannot provide the bank with the necessary information, they must refuse you as a customer according to this legislation.