Author Topic: US Citizen, resident of Canada, filling out W9 for US bank?  (Read 295 times)

EpicCrawfish

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I'm a US citizen working in Waterloo Ontario and thus a resident of Canada. I'm looking to open up an account with a US bank to park some cash in a CD for a year. In every sign-up flow each bank asks me to fill out a W-9 form (actually not the form itself, but a couple questions that stand in for the W-9). It seems pretty cut and dry, but two aspects are throwing me off.

Address: Every sign up flow I've encountered will only accept US addresses. I have a traveling mailbox in the US that I use for most US mail. Typically I'd use that. Is there any reason to think that would be problematic compared to using my Canadian address?

Certification #4: The W-9 form lists among the certifications " The FATCA code(s) entered on this form (if any) indicating that I am exempt from FATCA reporting is correct". Discover Bank weirdly presents this as "I am exempt from Foreign Tax Compliance Act reporting for deposit accounts maintained in the U.S. by Discover Bank" while Capitol One 360 sticks to the form language. As far as I can tell from the W-9 form itself, codes rarely/never apply to individuals anyway, so those certifications should present no problem. The wording used in the Discover version threw me off since they seem to imply something else. Does anyone see this certification as problematic for US citizens residing abroad?

I may be over thinking this; I'm just wary of running afoul of any weird cross-border issue and incurring fines or losing access to my assets.

I appreciate any perspective!

Novik

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Re: US Citizen, resident of Canada, filling out W9 for US bank?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2018, 02:11:43 PM »
I'm not sure I can answer your specific question, but I worry that you're not prepared for how many weird cross-border issues exist.

A couple questions:
1) have you been living in Canada for a while, and how long do you plan to stay?
2) do you have canadian bank accounts or investment accounts in Canada? (if so, do they hold Canadian mutual funds, GICs, or ETFs?)
3) do you have US investment accounts? (if so, do they contain US mutual funds?)
4) are you aware of FATCA restrictions on investing as a US citizen outside of the US, and FBAR reporting requirements, and have you been compliant with them?

If the answers include yes to #2 or #3, and no to #4 - start worrying. You will need to do some catch-up and get into compliance once you are aware of the rules. If breaking the rules was minor and purely due to ignorance, you will likely just catch-up on reporting, potentially divest some assets, and won't see any penalties.

I have a lot of info and links for you if you have follow-up questions. The book: "The American in Canada" is also a great primer, especially if you have just moved.


For your specific questions...

I believe discover is saying the same thing as Capital One: "because I am a US Citizen, I don't have to report US bank accounts to the US government."  [Because you do have to report non-US bank accounts - aka the FBAR]

And for addresses, you will pretty much have to use your US address for US bank signups - but if they find out it's not your residential address they may close the account (this include investment accounts) due to FATCA hassles.


As an American who doesn't live in the US - welcome to second class citizenship.

Nate79

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Re: US Citizen, resident of Canada, filling out W9 for US bank?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2018, 11:23:42 PM »
I'm not sure I can answer your specific question, but I worry that you're not prepared for how many weird cross-border issues exist.

A couple questions:
1) have you been living in Canada for a while, and how long do you plan to stay?
2) do you have canadian bank accounts or investment accounts in Canada? (if so, do they hold Canadian mutual funds, GICs, or ETFs?)
3) do you have US investment accounts? (if so, do they contain US mutual funds?)
4) are you aware of FATCA restrictions on investing as a US citizen outside of the US, and FBAR reporting requirements, and have you been compliant with them?

If the answers include yes to #2 or #3, and no to #4 - start worrying. You will need to do some catch-up and get into compliance once you are aware of the rules. If breaking the rules was minor and purely due to ignorance, you will likely just catch-up on reporting, potentially divest some assets, and won't see any penalties.

I have a lot of info and links for you if you have follow-up questions. The book: "The American in Canada" is also a great primer, especially if you have just moved.


For your specific questions...

I believe discover is saying the same thing as Capital One: "because I am a US Citizen, I don't have to report US bank accounts to the US government."  [Because you do have to report non-US bank accounts - aka the FBAR]

And for addresses, you will pretty much have to use your US address for US bank signups - but if they find out it's not your residential address they may close the account (this include investment accounts) due to FATCA hassles.


As an American who doesn't live in the US - welcome to second class citizenship.
You will not be able to open US bank accounts unless you falsify the contract by not giving your actual residential address. But they know all of these mailing services so that is a waste of time. Oh, and US brokerages will block you too if they find out you live overseas.

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