Stephen Kish has a thread over at Brock on What Are The Questions Banks and other financial institutions will be asking.
The information being posted is alarming. The questions being reported include:
SCOTIA BANK: “Are you a U.S. person for tax purposes?”
TD BANK CANADA TRUST: “Are you a U.S. citizen” AND “Where were you born?”
HSBC CANADA: “Do you hold multiple citizenship” AND “What is your place of birth”
CIBC: Local branch will receive info July 2.
BMO: “Do you have any other citizenships” (tentative per @Anne Boleyn)
Even more alarming is this from Pollyanna:
Warning! Within a week of each other, both our RBC personal/business account manager and our RBC Dominion Securities advisor informed us they are required to report our jointly held accounts (me: Canadian and US citizenship, husband: Canadian only) even if nothing in their paperwork currently identifies me as American. Just the fact that they became aware of it in conversation, over the course of our years long relationships with them, compels that the information be passed on. I appreciated their honesty, and am in the final stages of our divorce with their services.
Final CRA Guidelines for financial institutions that Bubblebustin posted say
Unambiguous U.S. place of birth
8.27 When the indicium found is an unambiguous indication of a U.S. place of birth, the account must be reported unless the financial institution obtains or currently maintains a record of all of the following:
- a self-certification showing that the account holder is neither a U.S. resident nor a U.S. citizen;
- evidence of the account holder’s citizenship in a country other than the U.S. (for example, a passport or other government-issued identification); and
- a copy of the account holder’s Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States or a reasonable explanation of why:
- the account holder does not have such a certificate; or
- the account holder did not obtain U.S. citizenship at birth.
8.28 In the context of an electronic record search, an “unambiguous indication of a U.S. place of birth” must include identification of the U.S. as the country of birth. Identification of a city and/or a state as the place of birth, without identification of the country of birth as the U.S., is not considered to be unambiguous.
My birth certificate says Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Nothing on it indicates U.S. Yet I suspect TD would still consider that an unambiguous U.S. place of birth.
Plus, CRA Information for individuals says:
Will my financial institution be asking me if I was born in the U.S.?
A financial institution complying with the agreement will not be required to ask its account holders about their place of birth.
So, does TD have the right to ask for place of birthÉ If customers give their birth certificate with the city and state, but no country, that is not an unambiguous place of birth.
I think there may be some potential grounds for a Human Rights or Privacy Commission complaint.
Yet, if you refuse to give the information:
What if I don’t co-operate with my financial institution?
If your Canadian financial institution has information in its records that shows that you may be a U.S. citizen or a U.S. resident and you have not given your financial institution enough information to clarify your status, it may have to report your account to the CRA as a U.S. account. If that’s the case, the CRA would exchange information about your account with the IRS.