Canadian Tax Issues Q&A:

Emigrating or just working temporarily in across the border? The tax filing process is bewildering. We stay apprised of US-Canadian cross border tax issues and the treaty. Read and learn, or use the Contact Form at the bottom of the page to ask your questions. We are also available for a free consult appointment.

 

No, you can be a tax resident of the US with a TN Visa by satisfying the physical presence test. A TN Visa is only temporary to the point you choose not to renew it. It does not determine tax residency. Tax Court Canada has recognized that a TN Visa worker in the US ceases to be a Canadian resident for tax purposes.
Yes, but only if they consider the income in both countries. You cannot file returns in a vacuum reporting only US income to the US and vice versa. We prefer to do both to ensure accuracy.
It’s still wrong, and they are getting poor advice. You could potentially pay twice the taxes on the same income if one filing was audited (or not filed) and the other was closed due to lapse of time. After that, no changes can be made. An un-filed return has no closing date. If the country where you did not file, or filed incorrectly, assessed tax on one of those years, you will not be able to amend the return in the other country.
Before 2008, the answer was no. Under treaty provisions enacted in 2008, the US and Canada will recognize these retirement schemes and provide somewhat similar treatment. When you work across the border and contribute to the work nation retirement program, you are generally allowed a deduction on both sides of the border.
Yes, if you are claiming a tax home in another country, that country has the right to tax worldwide income. You may be entitled to tax credits and exclusions based on your situation.
The CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) is very diligent in confirming taxes paid to another country. You may receive letters asking for clarification. Anytime there is a complex return, there is a greater chance for review and clarification measures.

IRS rules limit temporary assignments to less than 12 months in any one metropolitan area, consecutively or non-consecutively. Though you may have treaty protection, your temporary status for deductible living expenses may cease. You may go to another part of the country, but you cannot remain in the same area.

The only exception to this rule is a situation where the hospital itself provides housing on their campus - not an off-site apartment.

Children belonging to Canadian taxpayers can be claimed. :D
They will require an ITIN unless they have a SSN. We can help you obtain an ITIN for your dependents.

An ITIN is not a Social Security Number, it is a tax ID and it is only issued when a tax return requires an ID. ITIN's can only be obtained by filing a W7 (Application for Taxpayer Identification Number) with a tax return. The return and ITIN application must be mailed WITH specific documentation of foreign status and identity. The request for an ITIN is processed by a specific IRS campus.

You will either have to mail ORIGINAL documentation, OR take your identifying documents to an IRS office that handles document certification. It is best to get a copy of the spouse/dependents passport certified by a CONSULATE or EMBASSY of the country that issued the passport to avoid nasty waits and hassle.
Not necessarily. If the bank account is your only tie to Canada, it is not sufficient. Additionally, if you are deemed a resident of the US by treaty, the bank account is irrelevant.
Yes, though the treaty will decide functional residency for tax purposes
Depends on whether tax was withheld by the company. If there is tax deducted on the T5013, then you simply report these amounts on your US return (or home nation). If there is not any withholding, then you will most likely need to file.
This may sound odd, but the greater the refund, the less tax liability. When filing in your home country, your foreign tax credits are based on your tax liability, not your withholding. It is like a see-saw. Pay less here, pay more there, the total is the same - you will always pay the higher tax of the two nations. Good international tax planning focuses on minimizing your total tax liability, not just the liability in one nation.
In 2004 and 2014, the USD/CDN exchange rate moved dramatically. This presented a opportunity. Since tax returns are based on events of the past, one currency may be more desired over another. We keep that in mind when we prepare your returns.     :D
Days spent in the US is not important, so long as the ties to the other country are sufficient to remain a resident of that nation. Tax treaties trump domestic law so the rules governing tax residence may be based on your treaty claim.
1) Incorrect withholding on passive income. The tax treaty specifies the withholding rate of any income originating from a non-resident country.
2) Non-resident Canadian rental property requires a reporting agent and withholding. Make sure that the withholding is based on net profit and not gross receipts.
3) One or both countries will need information about worldwide income.
4) Foreign bank accounts and any combination of foreign accounts totaling more than 10K need to be reported to the US treasury.
5) Earnings within RRSP's and RRIF's must be reported and are taxed as income if living in California.
6) Foreign tax credits can be an itemized deduction vs. an actual credit. A good cross border preparer can find the most advantageous method.
7) Social Security, OAS and CPP payments are taxed by the resident country.
8) Any emigrant of Canada MUST report the value of all fixed assets on departure or face a stiff penalty.
9) When leaving Canada, the departure year Canadian return must include a declaration of non-residency and prorated tax credits.
10) Holding TFSAs as a US tax resident requires the filing of a five page form and the earnings are taxable in the US. A TFSA is considered a Grantor Trust in the US. Get rid of them before emigrating
11) You cannot keep your Canadian health card after emigrating from Canada
12) When emigrating from Canada, all assets remaining in Canada are deemed to be sold and rebought on the day of departure. This can create significant capital gains tax.


Workbooks & Pre-Consult Questionnaire


While TravelTax Canada is in Halifax all the work is done in the US. Please utilize the US address for anything that must be mailed. (Sorry)


CANADIAN SUPPLEMENT: Get Yours
This is a short demographics page for your Canadian information. To do your US taxes, we will still need to send us the appropriate US workbook found on the other specialty pages of our website. (Traveler workbook, etc.)



US TAX RETURN WORKBOOK: Get Yours

Yes, the Canadian part is easy breezy.... The painful part is the US workbook. (Yikes!)

It is a free download, no sign up/password required. TO USE IT AS A PDF FILL, YOU MUST DOWNLOAD AND SAVE IT TO YOUR COMPUTER FIRST, THEN REOPEN THE SAVED FILE. You will then be able to type and save it as often as you need to using Adobe Reader. (download here) Or you can just print it out and hand write the answers. :D

Should you have your business records in another format (excel or Quickbooks), you can just email those to us and note that in the workbook.

Pre-Consult Questionnaire: Get Yours
This is is to help streamline your appointment with Joe. Fill out what you know, skip anything that does not apply. We recognize that some of these issues are the very things you want to talk about. Answer those questions with a "?".
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Contact Form

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Talk To Us

Our mantra is "We never charge a to chat." If you are a traveler with questions about your tax home, or have questions about per diems, contracts, or how staffing agencies operate, that phone call is free of charge. - - It probably comes from our years in healthcare... educate! educate! educate!
Phone: 402.379.7818             Canada: 902.482.8128