Frequently asked cross border tax and financial planning questions

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He get a significant amount of questions on the site. Unfortunately we are not able to answer everyone’s request. Make sure to also post your questions on our cross border tax and financial planning forum. We have many professionals available to help answer current queries.

We’ve included below a series of frequently asked questions from visitors that may help you better understand the questions others are asking and issues people are facing. Please feel free to leave your questions in the comments below so we can try and answer or point you in the right direction when possible.

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I was hired on by an American company in November 2017 but work from home here in Victoria. My contract states that they will pay CPP, but I currently invoice them monthly for my salary and CPP is not included. I may be resigning soon and I want to know how CPP from cross-border employers is usually handled. I claimed taxes for 2017 for the amount of time I was employed as income without a T4, but I had already contributed the max amount to CPP and EI at the time. I’m currently just putting aside a percentage of my salary to pay taxes next year, but if there is an easier way to manage this situation, I’d appreciate some help!

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I am a Canadian citizen who is leaving Canada permamently for the US. I am unsure to what extent I should be cutting ties (e.g. do I get rid of bank accounts / credit cards / RRSP). I am also unsure whether I should fill out form NR73 or not. I am seeking advice on how best to approach this

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My wife and I are Canadians who have worked in the United States for the last 7 years, during which we’ve accumulated financial interests in both countries (house, 401ks, Roth IRAs, and savings in the United States; RRSPs, TFSAs, and other investments in Canada). We are now planning our transition back to living and working in Canada, and are looking for financial advice in the following areas:

  • The best strategy for handling our US investment assets (leave assets in the US indefinitely as is, transfer assets to Canadian RRSPs/investments, etc.)
  • How our work in the US affects government retirement plans (OAS/CPP, Social Security) to ensure we accurately plan for retirement
  • Any tax implications regarding selling our house in the US before/after we move

Although not against advice about specific financial vehicles, our primary interest is general financial advice about minimizing the cost of our transition and avoiding future costs or tax implications. Are these services that you offer, and if so how can we learn more about the details and costs of your services?

Thanks very much for your help,

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I emigrated from Canada in June 2017. I worked for Stantec Consulting Ltd until the beginning of May 2017 so I need to file a tax return for 2017.

I currently live in Norway so cannot use the service I completed my 2016 tax return with. Is this something you can help me with? I have my 2017 T4 from Stantec.

Please let me know your rates / pay methods and what I need to do to begin process. Kind Regards,

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Hello, I’d like some assistance completing our 2017 tax return. Last year, my husband and I got married, moved from Calgary to Victoria for work, sold our condo and bought a new home. My husband also has deductible employment expenses, and he’s paid commission. Due to all these changes, I have a few questions before I’m comfortable submitting our return. Would you please let me know what your rates are and if you’d be able to assist this week?

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I’m wondering about your rates and availability for an individual filing in both Canada and the U.S.

I’m a Canadian citizen who was living and working in New York on a NAFTA visa until August of last year, when I moved back to Toronto to work for a company here. I have pretty basic filings in both Canada and the U.S.

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My wife and I (along with our family) are considering moving to Abu Dhabi for work opportunities in 2020. The expected duration of our stint there would be 5 years. We would be interested in meeting with someone to help us better understand what steps we need to take to avoid paying tax in Canada while we are away.

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Hello,

I’m interested in some tax advice. I’m in the process of incorporating an Alberta business and evaluating the tax implications of an LLC in the USA. The business will be sourcing products from overseas as well as manufacturing in-house, and selling in the

USA using Fulfillment by Amazon.

Do you have experience with this type of setup?

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Hi, I’m a Canadian citizen working abroad in the UK and soon to take possession of a new-build condo in Victoria. We are planning to rent this unit and earn rental income. My wife and I are looking to identify an accountant that will be able to help us file our Canadian tax return. Can you please advise if this is a service your firm can provide. And while this is a difficult question, we’re looking for an estimate of the cost. We have no other Canadian sources of income beyond this rental income.

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I’m a dual US/Canadian citizen and I’ve been back in Canada for the past 8 years (after 10 years in California). I actually didn’t realize I still needed to file US taxes because most of those years, I’ve stayed at home with my small kids. We’re in the process of starting to apply for my children’s US citizenship and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with what to do first and how to go about getting everything caught up and finished.

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Hi, I’m a Landscape Architect in the States on a TN visa. I’ve been here since January last year (all my income last year was from the States). I plan on returning to Canada when my Visa expires in 2 years and I did not change my residence status in Ontario (I have an Ontario health card and driver’s license with my parent’s address).

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I am confused as to how to file my taxes, my company has been deducting taxes off my paychecks because I pass the substantial presence test, however, I’m not sure if I should be considered a resident of the States or Canada and where I should

file my taxes.

Also, I have some educational credits to roll over from previous years, I’m not sure how that will work if I have to file taxes in the States.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Hello –

I am a US citizen, Canadian permanent resident.

My earnings are derived from fees/commissions and investments generated in the US. I have an LLC that is based in Delaware. I am a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) that trades the US futures markets.

2016 gross income was CAD$526k and I paid a significant amount of tax, approx. 43%. I would like to meet with you and discuss alternatives.

I realize this is a busy time for you, my taxes are not due until June 30 so we can meet when things quiet down if that is better

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So I think I messed up big in previous tax years and I am looking to remedy that, but before I submit a voluntary disclosure request, I wanted to make sure I actually did mess up.

Here’s my background – in 2015 I left my job in Canada and was employed in the USA for what I thought would be a permanent job, and crossed the border on a 3-year TN authorization. That job did not work out, and I returned to Canada in late December, 2015. I was employed in Canada on a three month contract from January 2016 to March 2016, at which point I took another position in the USA using another 3-year TN authorization. I kept that job from April, 2016 through mid 2017, at which point I again returned to Canada.

I filed my taxes during this time in both the USA and Canada, but I honestly neglected to include my USA income on the Canadian returns as I did not think I was a resident of Canada. I am now questioning that decision, and want to file a retroactive determination of residency to the CRA for the 2015 and 2016 tax years to see if I should submit a voluntary disclosure request for the income from those years.

So my question is this – if I submit a determination of residency before my voluntary disclosure request, am I at risk of being flagged for an audit, thereby removing potential of penalty relief under the voluntary disclosure program? any and all advice is appreciated.

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I am a Canadian citizen who moved to the US on July 27th 2017 and began working on August 7th under a TN visa. I think my case is straightforward, but I was wondering if I could get a quote on how much assistance with my US and/or Canadian taxes would cost? Thank you!

To give a bit more background:

  • I am single and do not have kids
  • In the past 3 years I’ve spent 169 days in the US (162 in 2017, 7 in 2016).
  • In 2017 I was a full-time PhD student at a Canadian University from Jan-April, and part-time May – December.
  • I worked in Canada from Jan-April. I worked in the USA from August – December. The majority of my income is from the US (higher salary).
  • I still have permanent ties to Canada (bank accounts, debit and credit cards, I use my parents’ house as a permanent address, student at a Canadian university).

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I’m US citizen/Canadian PR. I became a tax resident in Canada in Sept 2017. I have some self-employment income (~7500CAD), a US IRA, a US Roth 401k, and a mutual fund. Total investment value about $15,000 USD. Given the rates advertised compared to my assets and income, it seems uneconomical to have someone do the filing for me. I’m generally good at working through IRS rules and forms so I’ve been working through all the rules and resources I can find to prepare my US and Canadian taxes. However it appears that some of these situations, particularly related to CPP/Social Security and the tax treaty are overly complex and not necessarily covered by any forms, so I’m unsure about how to proceed. Is there any way I can work this out without spending ~25% of my income on tax preparation? If I had significant income it wouldn’t matter, but retaining someone seems a large burden for little income and assets.

Thanks for your time and thoughts

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I worked in the US for one year in 2014, but did not file in 2015. I figured this wasn’t a major issue since they likely owed me a refund, but recently discovered there is a 3 year limit on refunds from the IRS. So I decided to try to submit before the April 15 deadline this year. Unfortunately I also discovered the FBAR at the same time, and that there is a 10k fine for not submitting it. So I’m wondering if it is possible to submit this without incurring that fine, and would like a quote on doing that return. I earned regular employment income from both Canadian and US companies that year and had a small amount of investment income from Canadian accounts.

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I was born in the US been in Canada for over 40 years. I am a Canadian Citizen but have recently had the question of US citizenship asked I didn’t think is mattered since I am a Canadian Citizen. I need to do what is necessary to be compliant re: US laws. I was told I need my US passport to travel to the US …and to get a passport I need to file US tax returns??? I live in Campbell River and have tried to find someone to talk to here but no luck. Can you advise me….Thank you

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Hi there,

I am a dual-citizen, currently living in Victoria to complete my grad degree. I have a fairly simple CRA/IRS profile for now, though it seems to get more complicated each year, and I am projecting that that trend will only continue as I graduate and pursue work

  • on both sides of the border. I would love to start a relationship with a tax professional now, while my taxes are still simple –

perhaps to confirm my learnings, as well as to point out some potential blind spots for issues that may come up in the (near) future. I would love to have some help on this front end, so that I know what to expect as I make important investing/career choices. Thank you,

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I am a dual (US/Canada) citizen wanting to get caught up with my last 5 years of tax returns for the purpose of renunciation of my US citizenship. I do not have a US social security number. Would like to discuss the services you provide and your fee structure; My Canadian taxes have been quite straightforward. Thank you.

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I’m writing with regard to taxation for myself and my husband. I moved to Waterloo in September 2017 while my husband has been working in the US and still is. His company asked him to establish residence in Canada which we were not aware about: it increased the tax liability by 1800 USD a month. He does not live with us, he works and lives in the US and comes to visit us sometimes in Canada.

is there a way he could be considered a non-resident because we do not have 1800 a month to pay in ADDITIONAL taxes. I’d appreciate your help

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I probably need help filing my taxes for the first time in the US. Move to the US with a TN visa job last november, though I

worked in canada all year until october. My wife moved with me but continued to work for a candian company until this week. We have a few investments in canada as well (no tfsas though). And the final fun part is that we’re still waiting for our 2016 canadian tax returns.

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Me and my spouse are Canadian taxpayers with US greencards, which we got in October last year. We just filled our returns in Canada, and we supposed to file them in US as well. We still reside i in Canada and will apply for reentry permit soon, so its a bit complicated, as i don`t understand, what exact income we supposed to declare, starting from exact day we crossed the border with immigrant visas? So its a bit tricky in general, and i`m not sure i getting everything right at all. Pls, could you help me with filling and how much it will cost? Thank you.

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Hello,

We are looking to invest in US real estate, initially in the states of Georgia and Texas, strictly for investment purposes (i.e. properties will be rented for income purposes and we have no intention of ever living in the properties). Prior to making any investment purchases, we are seeking tax advice on the optimal structure within which to organize ourselves.

A bit about us:

  • There are two of us seeking to invest together, and we are recognized as common-law partners in Can
  • One of us has Canadian Citizenship, the other has Canadian Permanent Residency and UK Citizenship (an application for Canadian Citizenship has been submitted and expected this year).
  • We have no plans to bequest any of the acquired assets within the next 30

o In the event of death of either one of us, we would like for any ownership share to be transferred to the surviving partner with minimal tax implications.

o While we currently have no children, in the event of death to both of us, the expectation would be that the investments are transferred equally amongst any children that may be had.

  • Our intention is to invest in multiple properties over many yea

In addition, we would like to know your fees and timing for setting up the structure that best suits our needs.

Please contact us at your earliest convenience.

 

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Hi there,

I am a resident of the Yukon. My husband and I own a condo in Idaho and we are planning to put it up for sale. We will need cross-border tax help.

I have been running the condo as a vacation rental since we bought it in 2011. It makes very little money, but I have filed a 1040NR tax return every year. I have an ITIN number. I have never written off any depreciation on the condo.

I actually paid tax in the US and then again in Canada on our vacation rental income. Now I think that was a mistake, but I am not bothered to correct it – the condo made between $3000 and $10,000 per year net profit, so it isn’t worth going back to correct that.

I know that this condo sale will impact next years’ taxes (2018), but is there anything we should know before we list the condo for sale that will help us to keep our taxes lower. I particularly want to avoid double-taxation if it’s possible. I believe the condo has increased in value.

Can you help us with our taxes?

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Hello,

I learned about your company online – I’m a physician with dual US-Canadian residency – live in Canada but work in the US. Do you specialize in physicians? I need help in the following areas:

Canada & US tax returns – 2017 Estate planning

Wealth building strategies

Possible future business structuring – right now I’m a W2 employee, looking at some side moonlighting as a 1099 contractor. Looking to establish my own clinic in the US soon. Have portfolios in stocks, bonds, and REITs – looking to diversify income

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streams and buy real estate.

The most important criteria I’m looking for in a team:

Real world experience with physicians 100% fee only – i.e. fiduciary

Licensed in both Canada and the US – ie significant experience on both sides. Long track record – well established.

 

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I’m a US Citizen living in Canada feeling daunted about filing US taxes. I am up to date and prepared to file my Canadian taxes, but I’d like to inquire about help to translate this filing to be compliant in the US. I also need to do the same for the past 2 years. Could you provide more information on prices of your services?

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Hello:

I’m a US/Can dual citizen living in Vancouver. I am looking for someone to help file my 2017 US taxes as well as provide expertise regarding retirement planning.

Could you let me know if you have any bandwidth for the 2017 season and what a ballpark rate would be for filing a single individual’s US taxes (I only earned income in Canada for 2017; I believe I will only need to file 1040, 1116, 2441, 8938, and FinCEN/FBAR) .

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I am a Canadian citizen who has worked in Japan and the US in 2017.

My Japanese tax return is prepared by a tax accountant in Japan, but I need somebody to prepare my Canadian and US tax returns. Is this within your scope?

I currently live and work in the US, and I am also looking for somebody who can provide tax planning advice. I would like to have a consultation and discuss my needs.

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Hi,

I am a Canadian who moved to Washington state for my new job in July 2017. In Canada, I had employment income and held 2 TFSAs holding Tangerine Investment funds. In the US, I have employment income, HSA and a 401k. I am looking to have both

my Canadian and American taxes done. Could you provide an estimate on how much that will cost?

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Hi there, I’m a Canadian citizen with an O-1 Visa and worked a little bit in the US this past year. I have been issued a W-2 so am assuming I need to file US taxes. I would of course like to get the withholding tax back from the US/California governments. Normally I file my Canadian taxes with my spouse and can’t figure out how the US taxes will fit into our filings.

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I and my wife both living in Toronto, but my wife she’s US citizen and she’s currently living in Toronto since two years. I’m paying her US student education loan and we got 1098 tax form to claim the interest that what we paid for that.

My wife needs to put US immigration file for as spouse and we need to pay US tax to get sponsor. Is that any way that we can pay tax to U.S. federal government.

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I am an incorporated physician. My tax year end is September 30th. My current accountant missed the tax estimate owing on the corporate side by 40% and the personal tax owing by 38%. I do not like financial surprises. I am considering a change in accounting firms as I do not think enough attention is being placed on forward tax planning. I am not sure if a smaller firm or

large firm will provide the best service. I would like to meet or have a teleconference if your firm is interested.

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Hi there, my husband is a U.S citizen and has been here since Feb 2015. He did not work until October 20th of 2017. We have not filed before and no one in our town is willing to file for us. We were curious if you are able to file for people who cannot come into your offices and what the price would be.

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We are in the process of buying a condo and selling our house. My wife is US person and we have become aware of various issues around tax filing with IRS. Would appreciate some advice on what we need to do. Our purchase closes in three weeks, so there is some urgency to make sure we have done everything right. Thanks.

 

I am graduating as a mechanical engineer this upcoming May and will be obtaining a TN Visa to work for a company in Georgia (state).. This position will require me to live in Georgia/Florida for 1-1.5 years while I complete training. Upon completion of training down there I will return to BC (interior region).

 

I will be paid in USD while I am working in the USA but it has still yet to be determined in which currency I will be paid upon return. My position will require me to work from home in Canada and the company will also be leasing me a vehicle. I am looking for advice to streamline my tax implications arising from these circumstances. Looking forward, I will eventually be investing in real estate and will also be seeking advice for this.

 

I would ideally like to have an accountant that I develop a long-term relationship with whom can guide my investment decisions to best take advantage of taxes. If my situation sounds like one that suits your abilities and interests please let me know. Also, how are your fees structured and what is your rate?

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I am looking to get my US taxes done. I have dual citizenship and have lived in Canada since 2003. I have not filed U.S. taxes, and I believe I need to do so dating back to when I turned 18 in 2012. I’m wondering if I’m correct that my U.S. taxes need to be done (although I don’t believe I owe anything) and what information I need to provide in order to get a quote.

 

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