200,000 Saudis affected by new US tax law

4187Saudis with US citizenship are worried by the American Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) that became law in March 2010 and came into force on July 1, 2014.

Under this act, Americans living in foreign countries will have to fill in annual tax forms giving information about their incomes and bank accounts.

Saudis who do not hold US citizenships but were born in America are also subject to this act. “More than 200,000 Saudis were born in the US and hence they are American citizens who should comply with this act,” a Saudi academic has said.

Talking to local daily Al-Madinah on Monday, Abdul Rahman Al-Habib, deputy director of the Strategic Studies Center, called for the establishment of a center to help Saudis with US citizenship fill in the annual tax declaration forms.

“These forms are very complicated and long and the citizens alone will not be able to fill them,” he said. Al-Habib asked the government, lawyers, legal offices, banks and financial institutions to help Saudi Americans who want to relinquish US citizenship to clear their FATCA files first.

“Those who want to give up their US citizenship will not be able to do so without clearing their taxes,” he added. Bandar Bin Abdullah Al-Niqaithan, a lawyer with a master’s degree from a US university, warned against evading FATCA and said American citizens overseas should clearly state their incomes.

He said according to FATCA, all banks and financial institutions should provide the US authorities with authentic data and correct figures about the accounts of American citizens.

The lawyer said the American authorities would impose a fine of 30 percent on transactions with the foreign banks and financial institutions who do not commit to FATCA rules. He said: “Saudis cannot give up their US citizenship easily.

“They will have to clear the tax files first, otherwise they will face huge fines.” Todd Holmstrom, US consul to Jeddah, said FATCA is applicable to all American citizens and also foreigners with green cards.

“The law aims to reduce cases of tax evasions by increasing the transparency of the incomes of American taxpayers in the country and abroad,” he said.

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