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I want to start a US bank account, even though I'm not a US citizen and live in the EU.

Are there any IRS forms I would have to file every year just for having this bank account?

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  • Do you have a bank account in the US? How does a person living in the EU come to know of IRS existence at all?
    – littleadv
    Jan 22 at 21:29

2 Answers 2

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There are no IRS forms you would have to file every year just for having this bank account, if the bank account consists of deposits only and that the bank account is not for doing business.

The interest on deposits are tax free.

26 U.S. Code § 871 - Tax on nonresident alien individuals

(i) Tax not to apply to certain interest and dividends

(1) In general

No tax shall be imposed under paragraph (1)(A) or (1)(C) of subsection (a) on any amount described in paragraph (2).

(2) Amounts to which paragraph (1) applies

The amounts described in this paragraph are as follows:

(A) Interest on deposits, if such interest is not effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the United States.

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You have to file taxes if you have taxable income. Simply owning money has no tax consequences, but if you get interest on it, it is taxable income.
Most checking accounts give very little interest if any, but depending on the account type and the amount of money you have in there, it might be enough to trigger the necessity to file taxes for it.

If your taxable income equals zero then you can forget about the IRS. I don’t know the trigger point, but under $10 interest a year is treated like zero.

Note that it has nothing to do with being a citizen or not – in general, if you earn income in the US, you have to pay taxes in the US. (if you are a US citizen, you have to pay taxes on money you earn outside the US too)

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    Starting from "it is taxable income", this is incorrect. The interest on deposits are tax free for NRA.
    – base64
    Jan 23 at 12:43
  • Interest earned from some bonds and bond ETFs are also tax-free for nonresident aliens.
    – Flux
    Feb 22 at 19:49

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