Over the last few years, thousands of so-called "accidental Americans" have grudgingly accepted the unexpected news that the U.S. considers them to be U.S. citizens, even though they had lived their entire lives, since birth, as citizens of other countries – and as a result of this news, are considered to have tax-reporting and potentially tax-paying obligations.
As a result of this news, such "accidentals" have had to go through the fraught and expensive business of complying with U.S. demands that they sort out their U.S. citizenship and tax situation (as the U.S. declared it to be), to enable the U.S. authorities to monitor their compliance with the regulations.
Retired Dutch KLM pilot Ronald Ariës, however, thought that this was not only outrageously wrong on the part of the U.S. government to be insisting upon, he was also incensed that the Dutch and European Union governments were allowing their citizens to be preyed upon in this manner. For this reason, therefore, he quietly but firmly declined to go along with the demands, even after his Dutch bank said it would be forced to close all of his accounts if he didn't....
It hasn't been easy for Ariës, but last Wednesday, in a stunning reversal of an earlier decision, a Dutch court declared that Ariës did not have to meet the U.S. demands that he provide his bank with a Tax Identification Number, or otherwise comply with certain requirements insisted on by the 2010 tax evasion-prevention law known as FATCA, in order to keep his account with de Volksbank, as long as his balances with the bank remained below US$50,000.
In my latest podcast interview with Ariës, this heroic former pilot – who was born in New Jersey some 63 years ago, only because his Dutch Air Force officer father happened to have been temporarily stationed there, acommpanied by Ariës's mother – discusses his recent (and some would say surprising and potentially game-changing) court win; why he is more convinced than ever that standing up to the bank's FATCA demands was the right thing to do; and what it all means, as he sees it.
The interview may be listened to and downloaded from the American Expat Financial News Journal's podcast channel, found here.
To read a summary of the results of last week's court decision, as well as the reactions of other accidental Americans and spokespeople and lawyers who have been representing them in their crusade for fairer treatment by the U.S., click here.
For an earlier podcast I did with Ronald Ariës, a few months after the previous court ruling that went against him, click here.
John Richardson, pictured left, is a U.S.-born, Toronto-based lawyer and citizenship expert, who is an increasingly well-known campaigner on behalf of American expat issues. He's one of the founders and board members of SEAT (Stop Extraterritorial American Taxation), and writes regularly for a number of U.S. tax industry publications. This latest interview of Ronald Ariës is one of a growing series Richardson has been doing on behalf of the American Expat Financial News Journal. Other editions of his podcasts may be seen by clicking here and scrolling down.
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