Take action against Taiwan bank tax residency tax certificates

A minor victory for Team Annoying Foreigner today while I was opening an account at Fubon (Taipower Building branch, Taipei). As usual, when the CRS forms came out they wanted to list me as tax-resident in the UK. More specifically, the guy wanted me to include the UK in the usual table then use “be a British citizen but not a UK tax resident” as my reason for not supplying a TIN (I didn’t write that, obviously).

I explained all the usual stuff to the guy via Google Translate: I’m only tax-resident in Taiwan, I’m not tax-resident in the UK, I haven’t lived in the UK for 15 years or even visited in 9 years, I’ve been wholly tax-resident here every year since 2017 – here’s my entry/exit record, nationality isn’t the same as tax residency – here are the OECD guidelines, your only job here under Article 40 of blah blah blah is to confirm the reasonableness of my self-certification – here’s the law, and also read your own bloody form – it’s asking about my tax residency, not my nationality.

It was all relatively friendly, but we weren’t really getting anywhere so he went to get his manager and the four of us (I’m including Google Translate, who did a lot of the heavy lifting) went through it all again. The manager was insisting that the “I am only a tax resident of Taiwan” box was only for Taiwanese citizens and foreigners needed to tick the “I am not or not only a tax resident of Taiwan” box.

The next part was beautiful. I Google Translated something along the lines of “I’m not ticking that box because it’s not true. If I tick it, I’ll be lying.” This prompted her to call the head office, and after a short conversation… they actually agreed with me and said I was right and she was wrong. She made that noise Taiwanese people make when they’re really surprised, and the guy dealing with the account opening said “it’s okay” and gave the corresponding hand gesture. I was quite surprised too, but I’m British and reserved so didn’t make a noise.

After this the manager laughed, apologized, and scurried off, and the guy printed out a slightly different form that they appear to use for Taiwanese citizens and let me complete it saying I’m only tax-resident here. Everything was fine after that, though I did make sure to ask him to tear up the original form because I didn’t want them submitting that one instead after I left lol. All in all, I was in and out within only two hours, like lightning.

It was the same with Huanan Bank actually – one form for Taiwanese and another one for foreigners, where the former was only in Chinese IIRC. Posting some pictures below in case anyone else finds them useful (though looking again now, these forms seem pretty much the same except for the font and header – the Huanan ones were clearly different).

Google says that Taiwan has around 158,000 domestic bank employees. I’ve argued about this with maybe 15–20 so far at five branches of five different banks, with a success rate of about 50% (Huanan and Fubon were clear victories, Mega Bank a partial one because they let me say I’m only tax-resident in Taiwan but still listed me as holding other tax residency on their system without specifying any besides Taiwan). So a looong way to go!