I have been living in France since 2019 so I'm used to the goofy US tax requirements. I recently changed banks (actually, from Crédit Mutuel in the north to Crédit Mutuel in the south). I originally completed a W-9 when I opened my account, and I needed to complete another when I changed to the southern account. Since then, I have been asked twice more by the branch to complete the W-9 paperwork. The first time (in fall 2022) they apparently lost track of it, and then today I was asked for it again because "the date was not in the correct format for the US (MM-DD-YYYY)."

I have always dated my government documents in the format 3 January 2023 and have not had a problem, so this third W-9 for a bank account is bothering me. Am I right to be suspicious?

1 Answer 1


I doubt it. If the person you're talking to is an actual banker in the actual bank (and not via email/incoming phone calls), then it's just incompetence. I've seen similar situations in other countries - locals just don't get the American requirements (which are quite ridiculous), and are doing their best to cover their own a$$es with regards to the paperwork.

  • It is the actual person, not the generic bank email account. I have asked her to send me a copy of the rejection notice from the IRS because I'm sure she's getting the message from someone who may not have fully understood. Thanks!
    – Lori S
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 18:12
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    @LoriS W9 are not submitted to the IRS, the clerk is probably following some kind of internal procedure. It is probably not something worth your time arguing about, just write the date in the way they want it. They may refuse to serve you if you don't comply with their requirements.
    – littleadv
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 18:14
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    @LoriS this is almost certainly just a case of a French person thinking that the date must be written in a particular format in order to be valid (or perhaps only suspecting this, but playing it safe). We all know that this isn't true, but it will be easier to accommodate their belief than to try to get them to believe you when you tell them that they're mistaken. The only person they ought to believe on that score is their US lawyer, and forcing them to seek a formal opinion on the question is just going to antagonize them (and also make it take a lot longer).
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 20:58

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