CHOICE membership

Residency Tax Disclosure (Questions from Banks/Card Issuers)


#1

My Bank has sent an email asking me to go online banking to answer questions about residency tax.
There are 3 question: Choose a country. Are you a tax resident? Are you a resident, a citizen, or both?
They would then forward to the ATO.

I said I was a taxable resident and both resident and citizen of Au, I hope I did right.
I’m always scared of ID theft maybe using my Tax number overseas.
Has anyone else got this from their bank, please?


Does my bank or credit card provider REALLY need to know?
#2

I hope that you enter your usual online bank URL into the broswer rather than clicking on a link in the email…

There have been other reports, even on this community about banks requiring an updatie to customer details. It appears that some of their required information collection has been a bit lax or hasn’t been updated since changes requiring such information (and a response to fhe Royal Commission).

Here is an example…

The questions asked seem normal from what I can work out.


#3

Thank you, @phb, much appreciated.
Yes, always do my own online address, and also this was what the email asked me to do.

My TFN was compromised early in the year and I get a bit anxious in case it has been fraudulently used.
I could not get a new number, as expected, but have voice recognition and a secret question with the ATO, but these would help only in case of a phone enquiry, I guess.


#4

Thanks for sharing this experience @Gaby, hopefully it will help others understand what requests are genuine and alert them to the precautions you need to take to avoid issues.


#5

Thank you, Brendan.
I try to be as aware as possible, especially to not give away too much of my private details, (Even if I have to miss out on loyalty bonuses and ‘Gifts’. I fear there’s a greater price to pay if anything goes wrong.)


#6

We also received one of these requests from one of our banks. We had lived overseas for a few years 10 years ago, so thought it may have been because of that. Anyway, it was legitimate.


#7

Thank you,@Janette. I have been travelling overseas lately but did not work there, it has been for short tourist holidays only.
Did let my bank know of my travels, as they suggest, in case overseas transactions show up in my account.

Can’t think why they would ask me otherwise.
Hope it’s not my details being used overseas by someone else😞


#8

This is why…


#9

@phb provided a link to the ATO side. As posted way above, the underlying reason are the US FATCA regulations.

If anyone is confused why Australia is concerned about US laws, any company not complying pays the price by being banned or prosecuted in the US.

Australia chose to put the ATO in between we taxpayers and the US government. We and our companies report tax residency and amounts to the ATO, the ATO reports relevant income to the US IRS. In some countries it is on each individual company to report, and as a result US persons are persona non-grata as being in the too hard basket to have as customers.


#10

The other reason is Australia has adopted and legilsated the Common Reporting Standard.

Australia is one of many countries which has adopted this standard.


#11

Thank you all.
Maybe the reason I’ve been ‘chosen’ by my bank is that I visited the USA last September for a very short tour?


#12

No, I expect that everyone in the same bank that the information hasn’t previously been collected or is not up to date would have received the same request for information. Travelling recently to the USA for a holiday would be coincidental, rather than a trigger.

The banks would have ro meet their record keeping obligations under the Common Reporting Standard.

I expect that there will be many other financial institution which will also be asking for similar information from its customers where there is a deficiency in the current records kept by the same institution.


#13

Thank you,@phb, much appreciated.


#14

Notice the link at the bottom of that page, to FATCA :wink:


#15

I told each relevant insto to ‘get stuffed’. :grinning: They can report my income to the US government. I don’t care. Waste of the ATO’s time. Waste of the US government’s time. Their choice.

The bizarre thing is that the ATO already knows 100% that I am claiming to be an Australian tax resident. So exactly why each insto needs to ask me is a mystery.

So far no problems.

As other people commented … if you get a demand out of the blue for financial information, you should be extremely careful that the request is legitimate and follow the usual appropriate procedures to manage that process.


#16

FWIW it only gets reported to the US if you are identified as a ‘US Person’, so if you are not it becomes nothing more than an accounting record at the bank. Our banks do not prosecute customers for not providing the information, but the US can prosecute our banks for not trying to get it. And therein lies the game. The banks are protecting themselves.

If you open a new account you will notice the questions in discussion are part of the applications these days, in one way or another.


#17

I received an email a couple of days ago from my credit card provider. It stated in part:

In order to meet our regulatory obligations and improve the quality of our service, we are required to update some of the details we hold in relation to your [credit card] with Card Number ending xxx.

Our records indicate that the following information we hold may not be up-to-date, and we ask that you confirm and update it by 15 December 2018:

• Nationality

• Occupation

Please log-in to the Online Service Centre where you can provide us with this information through secure messaging by visiting [insert website here] and:

  1.  Log-in using your username and password
    
  2.  Select the Card ending in xxxx
    
  3.  Click "My Messages"
    
  4.  Click "Compose" and select "Feedback/General enquiry" from the drop-down menu
    
  5.  Type "Enhancement", your nationality and your occupation
    
  6.  Click "Submit"
    

Seriously? One, they haven’t got the setup to collect this information. Two, under what law are they ‘required’ to collect it? The email states near the end, as part of an FAQ:

In accordance with Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing regulations and [insert provider name here] [policy name] policies, we are required to have accurate and up-to-date information about all our customers.

This may include, but not limited to, full name, date of birth, residential address, occupation and nationality. We may also ask further information from you such as your mother’s maiden name, email address and mobile number which will help us identify and/or contact you in the future, where necessary.

Another FAQ states:

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument 2007 require all Australian Financial Institutions to complete adequate due diligence on all customers. Part of this process is taking steps to maintain our records of your personal information.

Can anyone advise whether this is a scam to get more information about the provider’s customers, or if there is a legitimate requirement? I’m almost tempted to say that I’m an unemployed pimp, of African extraction (a couple of hundred thousand years ago, perhaps - but…).


#18

It’s a scam either way :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


#19

Rules 1, 2, 3 etc etc. “it’s always a SCAM “

When in doubt I ring my provider using the phone contact number on my last genuine paper statement or the one on the back of the Credit card.

Twice in a 100 plus such emails and SMS there has been a need to respond to a genuine message. Eg, when they have detect suspect transactions on your account!

Never though by following any links to provide customer information!

The second most worrying aspect has been the response of one of the CC providers. They see these SCAMs as everyday events and a customer problem to report. Just not to them for any action!


#20

Read about FATCA, the l.o.n.g arm of American law. Any company that does business in the USA has to comply or be banned from that market,

If you open a new financial account you will be asked about your tax residence(s) and whether you are a ‘US Person’ (US citizen or company with US presence). If so they are required by US law (!!!) to get your US social security or tax number, and our compliant government has agreed with the US that the ATO will advise the US Internal Revenue Service about all ones Australian sourced income.

This US over-step apparently started in US Civil War times, but most ignored it; as technology has allowed they have gone full on targeting anyone with even a power of attorney over a US or US persons accounts.

For anyone who has not picked up on my previous posts about this, US citizens are legally required to report global income to the US IRS and pay income tax on it, even if as a US citizen you were born abroad and never once set foot on US soil or have a single $1 of US sourced income. For entertainment you might read on the potential issues for Prince Harry and the royal family now that he has an American citizen wife. It is ludicrous, but whether it is a scam as traditionally known, no. it is worse.

nb. Many companies are still trying to find out if present/previous customers are foreign nationals and whether US Persons (or Eritreans, who apparently share the joy). As for it being a credit card rather than an income source, it is all part of the related money laundering tracking. The only place they do not seem to ‘follow the money’ to get answers (or tax revenue) is for pollies and political parties where opaqueness remains acceptable policy :expressionless: )