Court Rules U.S. Banks Must Disclose Nonresident Bank Account Information

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As a result of a court decision last week, issued by the District Court in the District of Columbia, U.S banks will be required to report interest earned on accounts held be non-resident aliens if the interest earned is $10.00 or more per year.  The case, involved a challenge by a couple of bankers associations to the 2012 amendment to the Department of the Treasury’s interest-reporting regulations.  The result is that the U.S. will be able to comply with information exchange requests from its treaty partners and exchange information as required under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

As a result of the holding implementation of the interest-reporting regulations some of those individuals will find themselves in tax problems with their home country.   An example of how problematic the exchange of information agreements can be is the recent request by Norway for treaty based assistance in obtaining account information on Norwegian citizen account holders at a Pennsylvania banks.  The U.S. cooperated and forced the disclosure of account information to the Norwegian authorities. 

Many non-resident aliens use the U.S. as a safe harbor for their financial assets.  It is important for all non-resident aliens to understand the reporting rules and their implications or the results could be dire.