Foreign national moving back to home country but still holding a US account
Hi. I just ended a two-years working experience in the US and I'm now back to my home country (Italy). I was in a J1 status.
For contract reasons, I will have to stay in Italy for at least one year and a half, which will give me an academic title that I would have lost moving permanently in the US in this very moment of my career. However, at present, I'm fairly positive I'll try to come back to the US within the next 2-3 years.
In the last days of my moving-out process, I decided I was going to try to keep my CITIbank account open.
I think it might come handy during the multiple trips to the US I'll be facing in the immediate future, as well as a way to quickly and effectively make payments/deposits of residual credits/debits from my US life (rent deposit, last paycheck and utilities, etc.). Plus, I won't have to open a new one if I ever come back.
I discussed the different options with some bank's reps while still there and that said I could easily keep the account alive just changing my mailing address to the foreign country (which I did). I left some money on balance, but won't have any income there.
Today I received a letter from the bank in which they ask IRS Tax
certification to prevent backup withholding
. They ask to either file a W9 (US person) or a W8-BEN (Foreign Person) since they have no TIN or foreign status information in my file.
- Shortly after arriving to the US, as a J1, I obtained a SSN (which I now realized I never transmitted to the bank- it was in the coming when I opened the account). Should I file the W9 with my SSN even if I'm not a US person, or should I file the W8-BEN regardless of the SSN to which my IRS file is related (I will be filing for 2013 from Italy)?
- W8-BEN Part II is dedicated to the possibility of claiming tax treaty benefits. Italy and the US do have a tax treaty, but I believe I used it all!
I was waived Fed and state taxes for my 2-years stay, but I was told that if I had stayed more, I would have had to pay them. The treaty is only applicable to your first two years. Should I check the treaty benefits anyway or not? Again, I won't have any US income to report anyways.
- Generally speaking, is there any risk/ something I need to know about holding a US account from outside the US?
Thank you very much.