FoolishJumper wrote:As a US citizen abroad for 9 years, I'm far from concerned about this. I've opened multiple accounts (both bank and brokerage) with companies that claim only US residents can open accounts. The main point is that they do not know I live abroad. I never provided them a foreign address. And they can't simply look if people login from outside the US, as far too many people travel internationally for work.
So you lied to them. Which may work if they never figure out where you really live, but it wouldn't seem to give you much of a footing to stand on if they do figure it out.
As for checking logins from abroad, Vanguard has been known to do just that. I remember reading complaints from Americans in Thailand a few years ago that Vanguard had abruptly blocked access to the entire country, for example.
The IRS fully views myself and my non-US wife as US residents (the tax code is quite clear on that), so I'm fully in the clear when I check that I'm a resident for tax purposes.
Well, no, they do not view you as a US resident. Their taxing authority over you comes from your US citizenship, not your residence. In fact, if you declare foreign residence on Form 2555, they will recognize your non-US residence for the purpose of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. There is no concept of "US resident for tax purposes" in your case. (The situation is different for Canadian snowbirds, for example, who may become US residents for tax purposes if they spend enough days per year in the US.)
It occurs to me that your wife, on the other hand, could be "US resident for tax purposes" if you choose to treat her as such in order to file Married Filing Jointly -- and if she then takes the FEIE, they would be treating her as a "non-resident resident"... (Hmm, think I'll stop now before my head explodes.)
But US tax issues aside, the reason most companies don't want to deal with non-resident customers is to avoid running afoul of the banking and securities regulations in other countries. Lying to them about one's actual residence seems to me to be asking for trouble in the event they do find out. Not something I'd be willing to do, anyway. YMMV.