Thursday, July 17, 2014

warning -- rant ahead

You have probably had your fill of whining about FATCA and its ramifications.

I know I have.  But, just when I think the ship has entered clear water, another storm looms.

You know the back story.  The Obama administration proposed legislation that Congress passed in 2012 to gather up extra tax revenue Americans were earning, and not reporting, overseas.  America is one of the few countries that taxes the revenue of citizens no matter where it is earned.

Part of the legislation gives the executive branch the power to coerce institutions in other countries to report what Americans may or not be reporting within their sovereign borders.  I thought the law would have no effect on me.  All of my income is derived from pensions in The States, and the appropriate amounts are withheld from me and sent to Washington, DC.

But I was wrong.  Because I receive transfers from my American bank to my Mexican bank, the transfers could no longer be made unless the Mexican bank complied with all of the bureaucracy that Washington can conjure.  As a result, my American bank (and several others) have closed their windows to expatriates.

I thought I had everything worked out.  I closed my Banamex USA account.  Then I re-directed all of my direct deposits and credit card automatic payments to another American bank.

At least, I thought I had.  My largest pension check filters though Oregon's public employment plan (PERS).  Unlike the Air Force and Social Security (who have websites that make changing deposit information as easy as eating apple pie), PERS has failed to join the 21st century. 

Its website does not allow its member to alter direct deposits electronically.  Everything must be done with paper through the mail system.  The only thing that saves the process from sounding as if it came out of the 18th century is the missing requirement of a liveried footman.  As a former Oregonian, it was a bit embarrassing to see how my tax dollars had been squandered.

I will spare you the details of what followed.  Other than to say that my July check was not electronically deposited with my new bank.  Nor will the August check. 
Maybe PERS is still looking for that liveried footman.  Fortunately, a friend in Nevada will deposit the paper check -- a paper check! -- for me when it eventually arrives.

That did not account for the lost July check.  PERS felt it had met its duty.  But my Banamex USA account was closed.  I could not even open it electronically.  As far as Banamex was concerned, I did not exist.

So, I was on the telephone most of the afternoon talking to two PERS clerks who were as frustrated as I was.  The last one told me the new bank had accepted the check.

I knew that wasn't true.  And a quick check on the bank's website doused that small ember of hope.  I tried calling Banamex USA, and got a "this number is not in service" warning.

Out of desperation, I tried the Banamex USA website again.  It worked.  And there were my funds.  And it is good that the check made it there because my credit card bank drew this month's payment from that account.

All now is well.  My credit card payments will come from my new bank.  And I do not need to go through the nonsense of a lost check procedure.  A colonoscopy would be more pleasurable.

Well, there is one loose end.  The remainder of the check sitting in my terminated Banamex USA account.

I asked if it could be wired to my new bank.  No.  That is not possible from a closed account.  The bank will mail a certified check (in US dollars) to my Mexico address.

How about my Nevada address?  No.  Only my Mexico address on record can be used.

So, the bank that can no longer send pesos to Mexico from my US dollar account in Los Angeles can freely send me a certified dollar check that I can neither cash nor deposit in Melaque.

Somewhere, Gregor Samsa is grooming his antennae.

No comments: