updated 2:11 PM CET, Oct 31, 2023

More Dutch banks turning away 'unintentional Americans', latest NRC Handelsblad report reveals

Two of the Netherlands' largest banks, ABN AMRO and Rabobank, are also prepared to close the bank accounts of "unintentional Americans" if these individuals "do not cooperate with the U.S. requirements" that they provide tax information numbers, such as a Social Security number, or evidence that they have entered into the U.S. system for relinquishing their citizenships, according to a report published on Friday on the news website NRC.nl.

The two banks revealed their policy concerning "unintentional Americans" – as what those who are more commonly known to English speakers as "accidental Americans are often referred to in the Netherlands – in response to questions posed to them by a journalist, the NRC.nl report  added. 

The journalist's question was prompted by the fact that another major Dutch bank, De Volksbank NV, has said it is having to close the accounts of such dual U.S./Dutch citizens who fail to provide it with the information that they in turn are obliged to give to the U.S. under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, the article noted.

It added that these banks were "not waiting" to find out whether Dutch officials would manage to agree a way forward with the U.S., whereby such banks wouldn't have to do this, as they said in a recent Parliamentary meeting that they would seek to do. 

As reported, a retired Dutch pilot who was born in the U.S. but who doesn't consider himself to be American has taken De Volksbank to court over its plan to close his account with it because of his failure to provide the data it says it needs in order to be compliant with FATCA.

A decision in the case is expected imminently.

NRC.nl, which is part of the NRC Handelsblad media group, has been closely following the issue of those Dutch citizens with "unintentional" American citizenship, typically the result of having been born in the U.S. to Dutch parents who were there only briefly, and who returned afterwards to live in the Netherlands.

Some of these unintentionally dual U.S./Dutch citizens acquired their U.S. citizenship because one or more of their parents was American, and may never themselves have set foot in the country that now is requiring them to file U.S. tax returns and potentially pay U.S. taxes, or else formally give up their citizenship.

The banks insist they should be allowed to freeze, close and block the accounts of unintentional Americans who decline to provide their tax information number (TIN) or Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLNs) – a document given to those who formally renounce their U.S. citizenship, which for those who have never files U.S. taxes involves a certain amount of coming into compliance before it can be completed – because of the penalties the U.S. has vowed to impose on institutions found not to comply. 

Although FATCA was signed into law in March of 2010, and came into force in most countries in 2014, the U.S. didn't immediately attempt to fully enforce its requirement that banks provide this data about its accidental American clients. However, it said that the deadline for providing such data was to be Jan. 1, 2020, which is why banks around the world have been telling such account-holders – in increasingly-unambiguous messages, according to those who have received such correspondence – that their accounts could be frozen if they continued not to comply with the data request. 

Last year, the Dutch Banking Association posted an animated video on the home page of  its website in which it warned Dutch "accidentals" of their need to get their U.S. Social Security numbers soon, if they didn't want to risk losing their bank accounts. 

The Nederlandse Vereniging van Banken (NVB) video, from which the image at the top of this article was taken – isn't still on the association's home page, but it may still be seen by clicking the same link, here, as well as on YouTube, where it was posted in May 2019.

The video, for those who may have been "geboren in de Verenigde Staten" (born in the U.S.) goes on to explain clearly, in both English and Dutch, how Americans living in the Netherlands and who lack a Social Security number can apply for one at the U.S. Embassy... or could, until the Covid pandemic caused the U.S. to close its offices in the Netherlands and most other countries around the world, only some of which have been reopened recently.