Thanks to the Arbiter for Financial Services

I would like to thank the Arbiter for Financial Services for helping solve a problem that arose  as a result of incorrect information given by Banif Bank to the Inland Revenue Department.

In 2013 I opened a term deposit account in the St Julian’s branch in the name of a family member. A power of attorney form duly certified was handed over with the application to  a bank clerk.

I was not given a copy of the agreement form. No tax was to be deducted on the interest received on this deposit as the holder was not eligible to pay tax.

On the interest dates I withdrew the interest on this account and on another account held in my name. I was never aware until mid-December 2016 that the interests of the two accounts were credited into a newly opened account registered in my name.

On December 10, 2016, I received a notice from the Inland Revenue Department to pay additional tax for the basis year 2015 on the interest earned on this account. I explained to the department that this account was not in my name and I had declared the interest in the return of a family member in whose name the account had been opened.

The Inland Revenue said that as Banif Bank had forwarded a statement showing the interest in my name, they required a letter stating that this interest was not mine.

I spent about 14 days phoning and going to the St Julian’s branch requesting this note to the Inland Revenue Department. I tried to speak the clerk who had opened this account, but was told that he could not speak to me.

Finally I spoke to the manager, who admitted the mistake but said she could not write the letter to the department and instead she gave me a signed term deposit form for private euro advice which was not accepted by the Inland Revenue.

Finally I paid the requested amount to the department in order not to incur further penalties.

On December 27, 2016, I wrote to the general manager of Banif Bank reporting the matter and requesting the sending of the letter in question to the department.

As no reply was received I wrote to the Arbiter for Financial Services requesting his help.

It took the Arbiter four months to chase Banif Bank until they finally paid me for the additional tax I had been charged.

To date I have not received a reply to my letter to the general manager, and when I called at the bank to withdraw payment I was asked to sign a declaration which stated that the bank did not accept responsibility for this matter.

I must complain on the bad customer service amounting to irresponsibility given by the bank, which is unacceptable and unbelievable in this day and age.

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