|FORMS: 5.1 FORMS FOR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS REGARDING USE OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS|
One of the biggest obstacles facing anyone wishing to live without a SSN is the problems associated with opening a bank account. As you probably know there isn't a bank in this country that will open an account of any kind without getting your SSN or Tax Id number. Of course the SSN is what the IRS uses to track your finances, build a case against you and/or assess you if you haven't filed a 1040.
You may be surprised to find out that you can open an account at ANY bank without using your SSN. The forms attached will allow you to get a non-interest bearing checking account free of an SSN at most banks. Interest bearing accounts are harder to get, because the interest must be reported for tax purposes and therefore the bank has a legitimate need to know your SSN for tax reporting.
When asked to fill out the bank's account paperwork. Under Social Security number write "SSN Exempt". If asked why say "Religious reasons". This is the easiest way. On the bank application form there is a box to mark SSN Exempt or Not subject to backup with holding. Mark that box and sign it. Make sure to include "Without Prejudice" UCC 1-207 next to signatures on application form.
Below is the law governing banks and id numbers:
So they are required to ask for a SSN but notice the words "if any". Clearly it is not a requirement. There is also no law prohibiting a financial institution form opening an account without a SSN.
So, there is even a provision in the law in case the bank can't get a SSN from a customer. They merely have to make a notation in record of those it hasn't been able to secure a number .
As a matter of fact, if the bank tells you that it is required by law when it actually isn't they are in violation of the law.
Now, that is pretty straightforward and easy to understand. The violater is even liable for damages!
It's even a felony!
These two PDF files should help you to secure your bank account. bank_not.pdf is a notice that we feel should be posted in a consicious location at every bank. ConstructiveNoticet.pdf is a "Constructive Notice" NoSSNLaw.pdf is a notice to account holders of their rights with regard to the use of SSNs.
Here is the recommended procedure:
Make sure you have multiple copies of each of these documents and go to the bank of your choice. Do not go to any bank that you currently do business with or have done business with in the past. They will have your SSN on record.
Bring someone with you.
Sit down with the manager or customer service person. Remember you are just there to open up an account and you do not want to cause trouble. You may want to ask if they have any discriminatory policy whatsoever i.e. race, national origin, religious etc. They will of course say that they don't. Very good.
Fill out any necessary paperwork just leave the SSN field blank.
If they don't ask for your SSN because you "forgot" you are very fortunate. It probably won't happen. When they do ask for it explain that you don't have one or you will not use it for religious or political reasons. Take your pick, you don't have to give him one. Then hand him bank_not.pdf and let him/her read it. While they are perusing that pull out ConstructiveNotice.pdf and fill it out with the persons name, the institution's name and sign it. Have your witness sign it and place it on the desk.
The manager/rep will undoubtedly explain that it is the bank's policy not to open accounts without a SSN. You may let them know that their policy is in violation of the law. Explain that you understand they may not be familiar with this aspect of the law and you are more than willing to let them research it. Offer to come back in an hour or two. If that's not enough time you can come back tomorrow. The only stipulation here is that you want to give them a deadline. You don't want to give them the opportunity to keep holding you off.
Once you give them the Constructive Notice they have been legally notified. If they still will not open an account they are in clear violation of the law. You then have the right to report them to the attorney general, your congressman, representative, etc. Not only will the bank be liable but the person you dealt with will be personally liable. You can also file a suit yourself for damages. More to come on this point soon.
You can get more information about this subject at the following website: http://www.nossn.com