How does the legal immigration status of a citizen impact banking accounts?

My cousin passed away and his wife was from Japan. She moved back to Japan and didn't fill out the right paperwork to earn permanent legal citizenship. She was emotionally devastated and just didn't get the paperwork done in time. So now they won't let her back in the US. Bank of America is telling her they are going to withhold her funds unless she fill out some form called called W-8BEN. This makes no sense to me she has been treated so badly. Can the bank do something like this

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There is no short and easy answer to this. She does have to file with the feds and the state because depending on the size of your cousin's estate, the Feds will withhold up to 55% of the estate in taxes. It's to prevent foreigners from inheriting money and taking it out of the country. State inheritance taxes vary by state, but there, citizenship status doesn't matter.

    A few years ago, the a lot of the banking laws changed especially with regard to non-citizens (but also with regard to citizens - basically your banking information is no longer secret).

    I'd say hire a good accountant on her behalf or see an estate lawyer. If it's only a matter of filling out the form, then great, but they will still come after her for the estate tax filings. That's a must. My advice is to file the necessary paperwork with the IRS rightaway before she incurs fees and penalties.

    ... and yes, banks do this regularly. They want to see clearance from the IRS that the taxes have been paid.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I believe you when you say she's been treated badly. That's one of the reasons why the United States is NOT loved in the rest of the world. They treat citizens of other countries like trash.

    It all has to do with taxes, that's all the US is interested in. They don't care about the person, just how much money that person is going to pay on taxes.

    The W-8BEN is an IRS form that will identify the submitter as a "non-resident alien". All for the purpose of taxes, as I said.

    Maybe she should just submit that form and get it done with.

    I understand there are rules and people must follow them, but treating them badly won't help in any way.

    Ask those who in good faith are trying to get a visa at any American Embassy, to come visit the US. They are treated as if they were criminals ... in their own country!!!!.

    .

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Actually the citizenship doesn't matter with Bank of America. It's the money they want. This is a typical trick they play. My father (an American citizen) passed away and they refused to release or close his account on the pretense of forms that had to be filled out. By the time we had completed the forms-game there was not much money left in the account they had just about cleaned it out in various fees. This also happened to my account. I tried to close an account with them and by the time I finished the forms-game they had taken out a substantial amount in so-called fees.

  • DAR
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I suspect it is a tax form. A bank has to report if anyone takes out more than $10,000. She should ask an accountant.

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw8ben.pdf

    Here. It is because since she is no longer in the country the US would have a hard time collecting tax. Once she has filed her tax return she should get back anything withheld above the tax due amount. But check with an accountant all the same.

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  • 4 years ago

    If he is here illegally,you cannot fix his status without him returning to his home country. After you petition for him,he will have to go home to have his interview and get his visa. At that point,he will be denied a visa and given a 10 year ban on returning. If you can prove that you would suffer severe hardship without him here,you would need to file for a waiver for the denial and the ban. No guarantee it will be approved. He has to remain out of the country until he is given permission to come back. If his waiver is approved,he will be out of the country a few months to a year. If it is not approved,he has to wait out his 10 year ban before he can apply to come back. Marriage and a baby does not change his situation or the requirements he has to follow.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    yes under this new patriot act anything is possible. banks want to make sure the money is legit as well as the person. they will freeze the account and will not let your cousin withdraw any money until you show proof she was legal in US

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