Accidental Americans in France hope Biden will end administrative hassle

Accidental Americans in France hope Biden will end administrative hassle

Accidental Americans – French citizens in France facing tax and financial problems due to being born in the United States – are placing their hopes in the EU’s negotiations with the Biden administration.
Many have no connection other than their birthplace with the United States.

Previous attempts to appeal to President Trump have been unsuccessful.

Around 40,000 people in France are affected, including around 300,000 across Europe and President Macron offered his support last week in a letter to French deputies and senators who support the group.

They have at least one French parent but being born in America automatically gives them dual nationality.

At the root of the problem is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2010 (Fatca), introduced to combat tax evasion by U.S. citizens abroad.

U.S. citizens are liable for U.S. income tax regardless of where they live, and Fatca has required banks to provide financial information about its citizens abroad or face fines.

Even renouncing US citizenship is not an easy solution as it costs $ 2000 and it is necessary to prove that you are up to date with your US tax returns and this can result in attorney fees and fines if filing was not performed regularly. The connection reported in December that the Association of Accidental Americans (AAA) in Paris was suing the US State Department for cost and claiming it unconstitutional. The first hearing is scheduled for this summer.

It also comes as AAA said on his Twitter thread that a large leading French bank begins to close the accounts of accidental Americans.

Fabien Lehagre, who created the AAA to represent those affected, said: “Most of us left the United States when we were very young and don’t even speak English.

“Some of us didn’t even know we had American citizenship until we found out that our status could deny us access to financial services in France, which made it difficult to open bank accounts, creation of a mortgage loan or contribution to retirement plans.

He said there was a silver lining: “In February, the Netherlands raised the issue with the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council.

At a press conference afterwards, the European Commission said it would revert to the matter.

“For Europe, there is the issue of reciprocity on personal data. America asks for information from European citizens but there is nothing in return.

“President Biden understands this is a problem and there is now a better diplomatic relationship between the United States and Europe, which we hope will help us.”

In a letter to deputies and senators dated March 14, President Macron wrote that he was paying “particular attention to the matter”.

He noted that France had already signed in 2013 an agreement with the United States according to which banks would not have to provide information directly to the British tax service, but that this would be done through the French central tax administration and with limits on personal data. provided.

However, he said France “actively supports” the wish of accidental Americans to renounce their US citizenship.

There had been progress but it had to be consolidated, he said. “This is why France is also acting at the European level and intends to continue, with its partners, an active dialogue with the new American administration in order to obtain more progress, in the direction of greater reciprocity on the exchange of financial information as well as on the implementation of procedures. easier for “accidental Americans”. ”

One of the pieces of information required is a TIN tax identification number.

Many accidental Americans left before their introduction or never knew they had one, so they weren’t able to provide the information.

France and the United States had a temporary moratorium, allowing French banks to only provide the individual’s date of birth if they did not have a TIN, but this ended on December 31, 2019. Since then, US authorities have said in a letter that they will do so. be flexible, but accidental Americans want a formal answer.

Although there have been problems opening bank accounts or obtaining loans in France, in other EU countries, such as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, banks have reportedly closed banks. accounts of accidental Americans. On Sunday, AAA tweeted there are reports that it is now starting at a major French bank.

Despite hopes for progress, the European Commission has so far said it can put pressure on the United States, but negotiations are needed between the countries and the United States.

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