What FATCA Did to a U.S. Military Veteran

Here is the story of what FATCA did to US Military Veteran Daniel Kuttel (aka Swiss Pinoy). veteran_proud
Daniel wrote this to Jubilee Network which has been promoting the myth that FATCA is intended to end corruption and that we are all the cause of global poverty.

Dear Mr. Hanauer,
I risked my life serving in the US military to defend America. While on active duty, I served in an active deployment unit which was ready to be deployed anywhere in the world within 72 hours to defend America. Have you ever risked your life for America, for the American people or even for an American living abroad?
After serving in the US military, my car broke down in the Nevada desert while I was moving to California, so I sold it for a night in a hotel room since I didn’t have any money to repair it. I then put my belongings into boxes and took the greyhound bus, from which my bicycle was stolen. Later, I got a general discharge from the Army reserves because I didn’t have the money to buy a car to report for duty! It wasn’t until many years later that I was able to afford a salvaged Geo Metro with a motor hood that was fastened down with a loose bolt! Once while driving along the freeway, the bolt came lose and the hood banged upon the front windshield, blocking my view. I was lucky to be able to pull over without getting into an accident.
Then, I lost my job, car and home during the dot-com crisis. I might have been able to stay in America if the check to finance the visa for my wife to join me hadn’t bounced since my bank account had been cancelled. My retirement savings was also cashed and taxed without my approval. Being unable to find work in the glutted job market, I put some clothes into a backpack and went job-hunting in Europe. Eventually, I found work, repaid my debts in the US and saved to be able to get a mortgage. For many years, my wife and I did not have any children because I feared losing my job again and since we struggled financially.
Living in Switzerland, I continued to fight for America, debating for years the most controversial and heated conflict. Often, I was the only American voice speaking out diplomatically against anti-American hostility. I provided a lone American voice which challenged negative stereotypes about Americans. I donated thousands of hours of my time for America and was never given a single penny in return. I didn’t even get any thanks or recognition. My time spent for America was for free and for my own personal satisfaction with no gain of any kind.
In 2012, my mortgage was soon to expire, so I scanned the market for refinancing options and learned that most banks were rejecting clients with US citizenship due to FATCA. FATCA caused Americans to be seen as being a risk. So, I contacted HUD and the VA, but they replied that they do not help Americans overseas. I then contacted various US politicians, but they either didn’t respond or they stated that anything that they did for US expats would be used against them by the opposing party. Other people accused me of being a tax cheat or having a poor banking record.
Can you imagine how it feels to be discriminated against for being American because of the US government, after having spent decades fighting for America? Can you even attempt to begin to picture how angry I am?
Since I didn’t want to risk losing my home a second time, since nobody cared about me or was willing to help, I gathered the strength to renounce US citizenship. After doing so, my bank reported in the press that it had closed the bank accounts of all of its US clients that it was able to contact. By renouncing US citizenship, I had thus saved my mortgage. I didn’t lose it a second time. I also wasn’t thrown out of any banks again.
After renouncing, I spent many free hours of my time helping and supporting Americans living abroad. Yet, instead of challenging non-American hostility against Americans, I challenged American hostility against Americans. Again, I’m was never paid to do this, I gained nothing from it and never received any kind of recognition or thanks from the US government. Yet, I’m still fighting for America as a non-US citizen since I feel for the people who are suffering and since I know that this situation is not right.
If you were to put yourself into my shoes, could you even begin to imagine how this feels? There are no words to describe this. I am angry, very angry. Yet, I continue to do what I have always done, and that is to fight for what is right, against all the odds.
You know, there is one thing that my sister would really want, and that would be for me to live near her in Colorado. Yet, I cannot do so since I am no longer a US citizen, due to FATCA. My family is divided. My daughter is a US citizen but not my son.
I know that you want FATCA more than anything in the world, but is the pain and suffering caused from such really worth it? If your foundation protects the poor from predatory financial behavior, then where have you been? I’ve been seeking your help for many years now and now that I’ve finally found you, will you really be true to the efforts of the Jubilee Network? I’m hoping to hear from you again.
Best regards,
Daniel Kuettel

41 thoughts on “What FATCA Did to a U.S. Military Veteran

  1. Thanks for sharing, Lynne. Can you do one tiny correction for me? It should say “rapid deployment”, rather than “active deployment”. I didn’t remember the right word last night. 🙂

  2. IMO every American citizen who supports FATCA should hang his or her head in shame after reading Daniel’s letter.

  3. I have a daughter who was born in the US in1969 to Canadian parents. Our family left the US and returned to Canada when she was four years old. She grew up in Canada and has had for many years a Canadian Passport .She never had an American Passport. She currently lives in Europe and learned that because of FATCA she is unable to open a bank account. This is causing hardship and distress. I am amazed at the lack of media coverage of this unfair law.

    1. @Miriam
      I am sorry to hear of your daughter’s situation. This has been going on for years, particularly in Switzerland and France, Belgium and all over.
      Unless something has changed, the Swiss have a IGA 2 which makes their banks deal directly with the IRS. I would expect perhaps to see more of the closing accounts, non-renewal of mortgages etc there. But most other European countries have Type 1 IGAs (like Canada) and I don’t understand why their banks act differently than Canada. We have seen very little of this kind of behaviour here. It is also clear in the IGA that a long 18-month period is involved before labeling any account “recalcitrant.”
      There has been media coverage of this unfair law. Unfortunately, most countries seem to view it as an “American” problem, even when such people are citizens of the 2nd country. The banks’ lobbies completely convinced the governments that signing the IGAs was necessary in order to keep active in the US capital markets. It is an incredibly frustrating battle.

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