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I am a U.S citizen who has been living in Argentina for the last 3 years. I am a legal permanent resident here and I work for an Argentine company, get paid in Argentine pesos and pay Argentine taxes. I receive no salary or benefits from any American company or government.

I received a letter from my Argentine Bank that I need to fill out a W-9 form and return it to them so they can send it to the IRS. They had no knowledge as to what I need to put on the form and they told me it's because of Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

No one down here knows much about foreign tax laws and when I called the IRS they where even less helpful and told me just to put my name, SSN and sign it. The company I work for has a couple of Americans like myself and they have also received the letter but are also wondering if they should fill it out and give it to the bank. Some people have told me that this is more to find U.S citizens hiding money overseas to avoid taxes. I don't make that much in my job to raise any flags and no where near that $50,000 mark I keep reading about while searching on Google about FATCA.

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The form is pretty simple. You put your name, SSN and address and confirm that you're a US tax person, and give it to the bank.

What's probably a surprise for you is that you are a US tax person. You need to file your annual tax returns, FBAR, and pay taxes (if the foreign earned income exclusion and foreign tax credit don't cover everything) to the US government.

Your status in Argentina is of no consequence. Even though it is likely illegal for the bank to provide information about you to the IRS per the Argentinian law, there's nothing you can do about it.

The bank will be heavily penalized if you don't comply with their request, so it is likely that if you refuse to provide them the W9 (and authorization to provide the required information to the IRS) they will refuse to service you. There are a lot of people who got their accounts frozen/closed because of this, since some foreign banks don't even bother with W9 and just kick Americans out.

Call your US congressman and tell him/her what you think about this.

  • Thanks for the detailed information. I am just going to fill out the form and return it to the bank. That way I can avoid any issues with the bank and with the IRS when I go back to the states to visit. BTW you said to put my address. Would that be my address here in Argentina or former address in the U.S? – Mark1732 Feb 3 '15 at 14:18
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    @Mark1732 your current address. And do remember to file your tax returns and FBARs on time even if you don't reside in the US. – littleadv Feb 3 '15 at 16:40
  • Thanks a lot for the information... I will definitely be calling my congressman... I've been living abroad for quite some time and all I wanted to do was change my address to my new local branch (the same bank that I've been with for years) and I got hit with this... – user8785 Dec 30 '15 at 4:46
  • The word recalcitrant comes to mind :) I think it was on some form I was viewing for a friend who was opening an account in Thailand. He wasn't even a US citizen, but they still were requiring a FATCA questionnaire. – Jon Grah 2 days ago

protected by phoog Apr 7 '17 at 19:08

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