Opening an Account with Bank of American from Abroad

I called Bank of America to inquire why an American citizen living abroad cannot open an account using their resident address.  I was told that they require a US address for security purposes.  To me, this seems rather insecure, since it requires an American living overseas to come up with some address where they don’t live in order to open up an account.   Also, this means that an American citizen who was born abroad would be unable to open up a US bank account without flying to the US.   So, I asked if a passport could be used to verify one’s identity, but was told that a passport is only accepted when it is shown in person at the bank.  I then asked if Americans living abroad could show their passport at the US embassy to open up a US bank account and was told that banks do not yet work with embassies to verify the identities of US citizens.
I think that it would make sense for American citizens living abroad to be able to validate their identities with their local US representation so that they can open a US bank account using their resident address.

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Can America solve its international address problem? Nope.

Submitted to MittRomney.com

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Dear Romney,

A good problem to solve that others say can’t be solved and is politically beyond repair in the US of A, is your contact page.  It doesn’t allow for Americans living overseas to enter in the address where they live which is not in America.  If such a simple problem cannot be solved, then can any problem be solved?  Nope.

Sincerely,

[ExpatAmi]

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No response and no action undertaken to solve the problem

International Address concerning Americans abroad

The following letter was submitted through Junior Senator Marco Rubio’s contact page.

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Dear Junior Senator Marco Rubio,

I’m a Florida veteran and US citizen living abroad and I was wondering if your contact page could be modified so that Americans abroad can contact you using the address where they live?  You have an option for “Military Personnel” stationed outside of Florida, but what about Americans who live and work in other countries?

Regards,

[ExpatAmi]
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No response

Are Americans abroad excluded from the chance to meet Connie Mack and Anne Romney at the Republican National Convention?

Dear Connie Mack,

The official rules to be a VIP guest at the upcoming event with Ann Romney state:

“The Promotion is open to citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) of the United States who are legal residents of one of the fifty states, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia and are at least 18 years of age or the age of majority as determined by state law.”

Does this exclude Americans living abroad who are not residents of the 50 States, Puerto Rico or the District of Columbia?

Regards,

[ExpatAmi] – Floridan abroad

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No response

Failed attempt to donate to Obama’s campaign

Hi Obama and friends,

Yesterday, I wanted to contribute $1000 to help your campaign but couldn’t since I neither live in the 50 States nor Puerto Rico.  I then also learned that I cannot enter the contest to attend the Democratic National Convention even though I am a US citizen, simply because I live abroad.  Why is it that residents of Puerto Rico can enter the contest to attend the Democratic National Convention, while Americans abroad may not do the same even though they may vote in US elections?  Certainly this is a mistake, or is it?

Kind regards

[ExpatAmi]

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Got an email with a link where Americans abroad can contribute using their foreign address (required for foreign credit cards), but no word if Americans abroad can participate in the sweepstakes.

Letter to Michelle Obama – Can’t Contribute to Campaign because of Address

Honorable Michelle Obama,

I got an email from you today asking for me to donate $3 for Barack and his campaign.  In fact, I’ve been getting many emails almost every day from various democrats asking for me to contribute $3.  While I would love to donate $3 or more, unfortunately I cannot do so since I am a US veteran living abroad and the donation page does not accept foreign addresses.  The problem is the same with all of my US representation and many expats as well as myself have addressed this matter many times in the past but nobody listened to us.  Hopefully this will get cleared up some day, but until then I am forced to apologize that I cannot contribute anything due to technical difficulties in the US.  Sorry, but I wish you all the best and hope that Barack Obama wins the election!

Sincerely

[ExpatAmi]

PS.  I was suprised to see that the White House accepts the addresses of Americans living abroad.  Hopefully the rest of the nation will follow such a fine example of excellent leadership to help make America a better nation!
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No response

Letter to Senator Bill Nelson on H.R. 6263

Honorable Bill Nelson,

The US Embassy in Bern advised me to contact you since American citizens are being denied mortgages by banks, as a direct result of US policy, simply because they are accused of being “US Persons”.

I was informed that you represent Florida residents who live abroad and thus I wrote to you on the 26th of July on this very serious matter, but received no response. Not a single word from my representation in the Senate.

It is a federal crime to deny an American in America a mortgage simply because they are accused of being a “US person”. As such, one would think that you would be very eager to explain why you voted to approve a policy which is now causing American citizens to be denied mortgages simply because they are “US persons”. Federal laws and policies tend to have a much different meaning beyond US borders.

Yet, actions speak louder than words. Become a cosponsor of H.R. 6263 to establish a commission to study how Federal laws and policies affect United States citizens living in foreign countries. Doing so would demonstrate to Americans that you recognize that it is absolutely horrible for Americans to be denied mortgages as a result of US policy, and such would mean far more than words which were never spoken to those one is said to represent.

Sincerely

[ExpatAmi]

PS. Please update your contact page so that Americans abroad can contact you using their home address.

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No rsponse

Letter to Congressman Vern Buchanon on H.R.6263

Dear Vern Buchanan,

On the 30th of July 30, 2012, I wrote to you that banks were refusing to refinance my Mortgage simply because I’m a US person living abroad.

As you must know, it is a federal crime to refuse to finance a mortgage based on national origin. In other words, it is illegal in America to deny an American a mortgage simply because they are an American citizen.

As mentioned in my previous letter, American citizens are being denied mortgages for being Americans as a result of US policy. It is thus my assumption that US policy, which causes the mortgages of US persons to be denied, is illegal under US law.

Being my representation in America, you must certainly be aware that Rep. Carolyn Maloney sponsored H.R.6263 to establish a commission to study how Federal laws and policies affect United States citizens living in foreign countries.

Please cosponsor and support this bill since it simply cannot be that American citizens are denied mortgages simply because they are US Persons.

Sincerely,

[ExpatAmi]

PS. Please update your contact page so that Americans abroad can contact you using their home address.

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Received a generic response not addressed to me, and with no mention of anything that I wrote, but that’s more than nothing.

Myth: EVERYONE is Eligible to Free File!

IRS: EVERYONE is Eligible to Free File!

Everyone?  Including Americans abroad?  Even those with foreign addresses, senior citizens, the working middle class or the wealthy?

if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, the rules for filing income… are generally the same whether you are living in the U.S. or abroad.
IRS: Income from Abroad is Taxable

The rules for filing income are generally the same for those living abroad?  Really?  Seems hard to believe.  Let’s put it to the test.

Well, forget Free File Fillable Forms.

Foreign Addresses – Free File Fillable Forms does not currently support foreign addresses on the Form 1040 or on income documents (W2’s or 1099’s).
IRS: Free File Fillable Forms FAQs & Limitations

That scratches the IRS, the one making the claim, from qualifying.  This is rather ironic, considering:

U.S. citizen or resident alien, you must report income from all sources within and outside of the U.S.
IRS: Income from Abroad is Taxable

Americans living abroad must report their income even though the IRS refuses to accept their foreign address with freefile, contrary to its own claims?

We’re sorry, foreign mailing addresses for the main address on your tax return are not supported by our software.
FreeTaxUSA (search for foreign address)

That scratches FreeTaxUSA from the list, given that it likely figures that USA tax is for people in the USA?

You can generally use YES I-CAN!™ E-File unless you (or your spouse, if filing together) are in the military, are a church employee, are a non-resident alien, sold real estate or you or your employer have a non-US address.
YesICanEFile

Must be a typo.  NoICannotFile.org would be the correct site, yet such honesty would violate the “EVERYONE is Eligible to Free File” claim.

 OTP does not support the entry of foreign addresses
OnlineTaxPros

OffshoreTaxProhibition.com would work better in this context.  That scratches another from the list.

Not supported… foreign income (if you worked or had investments abroad)
EzTaxReturn

Well now, easy tax return is actually not so easy at all!  Try filing while being denied the ability to do so.  Such sure wasn’t easy to me.  Nonotaxreturn.com would be a better name for that site.  Another down and we are running of possibilities!

You Qualify for Free* federal filing if… Your AGI is $57000 or less and you live in AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, UT, VT, WI, or WV then you are entitled to free federal tax preparation, printing & e-filing
TaxSimple

I guess that CH is not a US State, probably because it has a foreign address.  Thus, http://www.taxpain.org is scratched from the list too, unless one is under under 66 and asks the right person to manually enter the foreign address.  A similar conditions apply to 1040Now.net

You qualify for free tax preparation, printing, & e-filing if your adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less and you are age 19 through 55 years old. Offer valid in all states.
TaxActOnline

Holy smoke!  TaxACT accepts foreign addresses, as long as the foreign address is in the country of “America”, since no other country can be entered.  Yet, even if one lives at a foreign address in America, one is still denied the right to free-file if one is younger than 19, older than 55 or if one has an AGI greater than $57000. Yet, TaxACT also writes:

FREE for Everyone – No restrictions or gimmicks
TaxAct

So, if one avoids the IRS freefile and goes directly to TaxACT.com, then maybe the restrictions don’t apply as long as one lives at a foreign address in America?  I hope you are not confused, because I sure am.

Adjusted Gross Income: between $12,050 and $57,000, and
Live in any state or U.S. Citizens and resident aliens with foreign addresses
Olt

Wow, OLT strangely realized that Americans abroad do not live in America!  Now, that could seem shocking, except that an AGI between $12050 and $57,000 excludes just about everyone and anyone who lives abroad.  Similar conditions apply to FileYourTaxes.  Now, somebody has got to be able to free file, one would think…

Your age is 52 or under and your AGI is less than $57000
1040

Cool!  Another company that realizes that not all Americans live in America, and they even accept most Americans abroad with an AGI under $57000.  Yet, they exclude the wealthy and senior citizens.  Well, that’s not EVERYONE.  How rude!  Similar conditions apply to H&R Block, eSmartTax and TaxSlayer.  Oh, wait, there’s one more:

Yes. Starting on March 15, 2012, you will be able to e-file a federal tax return with a foreign or U.S. Possession mailing address… Similarly, you’ll need a U.S. bank account or credit card to pay owed taxes and product fees. TurboTax Refund Card and Refund Processing Services require a U.S. address or APO/FPO/DPO address. Free products which require registration in lieu of payment require a U.S. address or APO/FPO/DPO address.
TurboTax

You earned $31000 or less or were Active Duty Military or you qualified for the Earned Income Credit
TurboTax

That still excludes senior citizens and the wealthy from “everyone”, one can’t get a refund unless one has US address, one can’t pay taxes unless one has a bank account or credit card in another country where one doesn’t live and one can’t enjoy free products unless one has a US address.  Getting a bank account, credit card or mailing address in another country where one does not live is not always an easy task.

Thus, the “EVERYONE is Eligible to Free File” claim is false and the rules for filing income are also not the same as those living in the US.  The US government, can only be ashamed when promoting this non-functioning condition of citizenship-based taxation.

Can’t sign up for President Obama’s Dashboard

When entering the zip code and address on  President Obama’s Dashboard for where I live, I’m told:

We couldn’t find a team near this address. Please try with a different address, or try again later.
https://my.barackobama.com/page/content/dashboard-signup?invalid=1&street=&zip=

Guess the system wasn’t designed for Americans living abroad, so I don’t have to bother with it.  I clicked on the Dashboard support, but it returns an invalid certificate warning:

This Connection is Untrusted…
faq.barackobama.com uses an invalid security certificate.