Taxation of Canadians in America
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110 pages

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Are you a Canadian who spends your winters in the southern United States, or occasionally conducts work in the US? Many Canadians do not know that they need a work visa to legally conduct business during their stay in the United States. Even more worrisome is that they don’t know that they may be required to file taxes with the IRS. This law also applies to those telecommuting from the US for Canadian businesses. The consequences of declining to pay taxes or not obtaining a work visa can be severe. One could end up being declared an illegal immigrant and being deported!
In order to prevent unwanted confrontations with the IRS author Dale Walters breaks down US taxation laws into this easy-to-understand book. America is Taxing Canadians explains exactly who must pay taxes and who remains exempt. Many possible situations are detailed such as what to do if you own property in the United States, have made other financial investments, or have an American spouse or American-born children. Walters also discusses the tax laws as related to income tax and estate tax.
This book discusses topics such as:
· The basics of US taxation as it applies to snowbirds and cross-border workers
· Foreign tax credits
· Taxation of Registered Plans, pensions and Social Security
· Issues relating to real estate ownership
· Taxation of gains
· Taxes regarding health insurance
America is Taxing Canadians arms you with the information you need to make responsible decisions as a Canadian living and working part time in the United States.
Introduction xiii
1 The Basics of US Taxation 1
1. History of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 1
2. The Basics 3
3. Dealing with the IRS 4
4. The IRS Examination (Audit) Process 6
5. Filing 8
5.1 When to file your Individual Income Tax Return
(Form 1040) 10
5.2 Electronic filing 11
5.3 Penalties and interest for underpayment,
late filing, and late payment 11
5.4 Filing status 12
6. Notifying the IRS about Your Change of Address 13
iv Taxation of Canadians in America
2 Your First Year in the US 14
1. Determining US Residency 14
1.1 First year elections 17
2. How Do I Get an Identification Number? 20
3 The Treaty 23
1. Residency 27
2. Real Property 29
3. Dividends, Interest, and Royalties 30
4. Gains 31
5. Personal Services 32
6. Artists and Athletes 33
7. Pensions and Annuities 34
8. Social Security 35
9. Government Service 36
10. Students 36
11. Taxes Imposed by Reason of Death 36
4 Canadian Taxation of Nonresidents 38
1. Who Is Considered a Nonresident of Canada? 39
2. Selling Property in Canada 45
5 Foreign Tax Credits 47
1. What Are Foreign Tax Credits? 48
2. Types of Foreign Income 51
3. How to Calculate the Foreign Tax Credit 52
4. Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) 55
6 Registered Retirement Plans, Pensions,
and Social Security 57
1. Registered Retirement Plans 58
1.1. Deferral 58
1.2 Distributions 59
Contents v
1.3 Planning 61
1.4 How the taxes work 66
1.5 Other types of accounts 70
2. Pensions 71
3. Social Security 72
3.1 The Windfall Elimination Provision 73
7 Investments 74
1. Securities Law 74
2. Mutual Funds 75
2.1 Passive foreign investment company (PFIC) rules 76
2.1a Qualified electing fund (QEF) 77
2.1b Mark-to-market election 78
2.1c Excess distribution 78
3. Tax Reporting Slips 79
4. Taxation of Specific Types of Investments 80
4.1 Municipal bonds 80
4.2 Government bonds 80
4.3 Annuities 81
4.4 Personal residence 81
4.5 Investment real estate 81
5. Treaty Rules That Affect Your Securities 82
8 Common Deductions 84
1. Above-the-Line Deductions 85
2. Trade or Business Expenses 86
3. Vacation or Rental Home Expenses 87
4. Depreciation, Amortization, and Depletion Expenses 91
5. Individual Losses to Property 92
6. Alimony and Child Support 94
7. Contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) 94
8. Moving Expenses 96
9. Health Savings Accounts (HSA) 96
vi Taxation of Canadians in America
10. Qualified Education Expenses and
Student Loan Interest 97
11. Exemptions 98
12. Standard Deductions or Itemized Deductions 99
12.1 Standard deductions 99
12.2 Itemized deductions 100
13. State and Local Taxes 101
14. Interest Expenses 101
15. Medical Expenses 103
16. Employee Educational Expenses 105
17. Charitable Contributions 106
18. Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions 108
19. Credits 109
19.1 Child and dependent credit 110
19.2 Credit for the elderly or disabled 110
19.3 Child tax credit 111
19.4 Earned income credit 111
19.5 Education credits 111
19.6 Retirement savings contributions credit 112
19.7 Other credits 112
9 Tax Planning 114
1. Tax Planning in General 116
2. Specific Tax-Planning Opportunities 117
2.1 Your principal residence 117
2.2 Other real estate investments 118
2.3 Securities 118
2.4 Series EE bonds and I bonds 119
3. Tax Breaks for Senior Citizens 119
4. State Income taxes 119
5. Community Property 121
Contents vii
10 US Estate and Gift Taxes 123
1. US Nonresident Estate Tax 127
2. US Resident, Noncitizen Estate Tax 131
2.1 Jointly held property 135
3. Gift Taxes 135
4. Generation Skipping Transfer Tax 137
5. State Estate and Inheritance Tax 138
11 Leaving the US 141
1. Expatriation 142
1.1 Your rights after renunciation of US citizenship 148
1.2 The Reed Amendment 149
2. Tax Planning before You Leave 150
Conclusion 151
Resources 153
About the Authors 157
1 Income Threshold for Filing 10
2 US Immigration Options 21
3 Your Status: Nonresident Alien or Resident Alien 22
4 Treaty Articles 26
5 Types of Income and Withholding Rates 37
6 RRIF Minimum Withdrawals by Age 63
7 Summary of Expenses 76
8 The Format of the US Individual Income Tax Return
(Form 1040) 85
9 Trade or Business Expenses 88
10 Vacation/Rental Home 91
11 Classes of Depreciation Property 92
12 Standard Deduction Amounts 99
13 Additional Deduction Amounts 99
viii Taxation of Canadians in America
14 Limits on Medical Deductions 105
15 Gift and Estate Tax Rate Schedule 132
16 Unified Tax Credits and Exclusion Amounts 133
17 State Estate and Inheritance Tax 138



Publié par
Date de parution 30 novembre 2012
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781770409125
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Are YOU at risk?
Dale Walters, CPA, PFS, CFP® with Sally Taylor, CPA and David Lavine, CPA
Self-Counsel Press
(a division of)
International Self-Counsel Press Ltd.
USA Canada

Copyright © 2012

International Self-Counsel Press
All rights reserved.

We estimate that more than 1 million Canadians file tax returns in the US and another 1 million should be filing, but don’t. Based on our experience, many of those that do file have a number of mistakes that could be very costly if the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) were to discover those mistakes. Of those who don’t file, but should, we find the main reason is that they do not fully understand the US residency requirements and therefore the requirement to file US tax returns.
As Canadians, you can hardly be blamed for the fact that, as a group, your US tax returns are most likely being done incorrectly. Taxation in general is complex enough, add to that rules that are seldom used by most tax preparers, then toss in the Treaty that can modify the Canadian Income Tax Act and the US Internal Revenue Code and you have a very complex set of rules. If that were not bad enough, in a number of cases, there are no clear rules or regulations addressing the issues you are facing, which makes it very difficult to file correctly even if you are trying to do the right thing.
This book will attempt to address most of the US tax- and estate-planning issues you will face as a Canadian living in the US. We will be primarily addressing individual taxation because it is the area most people need help. Besides, to discuss the cross-border implications of corporations, partnerships, trusts, etc., would require at least one whole book dedicated to nothing but the tax issues cross-border businesses face. While we will discuss these various entities from time-to-time, we will only cover the issues from the perspective of how they affect you as the individual.
KeatsConnelly is the largest and most experienced cross-border wealth management firm in North America that specializes in helping Canadians and Americans realize their dreams of a cross-border lifestyle. KeatsConnelly was started in 1990 and has more than 35 employees, with offices in Phoenix, Arizona; Boynton Beach, Florida; and Calgary, Alberta.
Cross Border Tax & Accounting is a wholly owned subsidiary of KeatsConnelly that specializes in tax planning and preparation for Canadian and US citizens, who live, work, or conduct business across the US-Canada border. A team of Canadian Chartered Accountants and US Certified Public Accountants prepare all types of US and Canadian tax returns. It is the cumulative expertise and experience of the professionals at KeatsConnelly and Cross Border Tax & Accounting that we draw upon in writing this book.
From our vantage point, the need for cross-border specialists is apparent, but we understand that you do not have our vantage point, so we will try to explain why it is so important to hire professionals that are experts in US-Canada tax planning and preparation.
Here are some reasons that a professional who specializes in US-Canada tax should be used:

• Prevent risk: There are risks that are unique to preparation of returns with international issues, such as forms that need to be filed and elections that need to be made. Failure to file a required form can be devastating, literally costing you tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. That may not be the worst of it; you could be deported or even imprisoned.

• It is complex: Some of the complexities that arise on a regular basis are immigration, deemed disposition of property, residency issues, income, estate and gift taxes, how to title and own assets, the myriad of foreign reporting forms and the related issues and penalties involved, currency exchange, qualifying for Social Security benefits, special elections that need to be made, etc. We contend that it is impossible for someone who dabbles in this area to know all of the complexities involved. We have specialized in US-Canada taxes for more than 20 years and find it difficult at times to keep up with all of the changes going on in this area; there is no way that anyone who is new to this subject should be attempting to prepare these returns.

• Complexities need to be coordinated: Immigration should not be undertaken until the income and estate consequences have been considered and proper planning has been taken. You need to consider what actions need to be taken to show the authorities that you are a resident of one country or the other. You need to consider what actions need to be taken before you exit Canada and what actions should be taken after you are a resident of the US. Many of these actions need to be done in a particular order, so you have to know what comes first, second, third, etc.
Here is an analogy for you to consider. If you were building a house, would you go out and hire an architect, a carpenter, a mason, electrician, and painter and not coordinate them? What would happen if the framer did his or her work before the architect developed the plans? What would happen if the carpet was installed before the drywall was hung? We can all agree that the job would be a complete disaster, yet this is exactly what people typically do when looking to move across the border; very first thing they do is hire an immigration attorney to get them a visa. Guess what, you are now subject to a bunch of US tax laws and you have done no planning; it is already a mess and you have barely gotten started.

• The difference between knowledge and experience: It is one thing to know that A, B, and C need to be done, it is another thing to know the specifics of how to get A, B, and C done. The perfect analogy here is that of graduating university students. Even if they are in fields such as law, accounting, and medicine, we all know that they have no idea what they are doing when they get out of school, yet they have “learned” how to do their jobs in school. The knowledge that is needed is as deep as it is broad, and it takes experience to learn it. Keep in mind that 20 years as a brain surgeon does not qualify you as a heart surgeon, and vice versa. Similarly, 20 years as an accountant does not qualify that accountant as a cross-border tax specialist.

• Two experts on each side of the border do not equal a cross-border specialist. On a regular basis we have clients that come to us who have hired the best advisor in Canada and the best advisor in the US only to find out after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars that the professionals’ lack of understanding of the other country’s laws created a hurdle they could not overcome. Similarly, those specialists do not typically coordinate with other specialists.
The problem from your perspective (the taxpayer), is that you cannot tell the difference between a correctly filed and incorrectly filed tax return. Understandably, you do not know what forms need to be filed, what elections need to be made, or in some cases do not even know what is taxable income and what is not. If you knew those things, you would prepare your own returns.
The solution is a cross-border tax specialist; someone who focuses on US-Canada tax. That person should have access to cross-border planning professionals who can look at all the aspects of a cross-border lifestyle and coordinates those aspects together, just as a general contractor would coordinate all of the aspects of building a house.
We realize that some of you are skeptical and think that we are simply trying to scare you into hiring our firm to prepare your taxes. Well, you are partially correct; we are trying to scare you, but not necessarily into using our services. There are a handful of US tax specialists who will do a fine job in preparing your returns. Though there may be more, we know of about a half-dozen firms in the US that we would trust to prepare your returns properly.
When seeking a competent cross-border tax specialist, we believe it is fair to be curious about the cost of preparing a US tax return with cross-border issues. Of course, we cannot speak for all of our peers, but based on our experience, you can expect to pay approximately $1,000 at the low end, up to $5,000 at the high end, depending on the complexity of your situation. These estimates do not include Canadian returns or business returns. For your first US return, you can expect to pay double, due to the calculations, elections, etc. that need to be made in the first year.
In the more than 20 years KeatsConnelly has been specializing in cross-border issues, we believe that we have seen every situation and have heard every question. We are using that experience as the basis for writing this book. We are writing this book to address most of the tax issues that Canadians need to know while living in the US.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first and only book dedicated to the topic of taxation of Canadians living in the US and we hope it will become an indispensable guide for Canadians living in the US.
Other books written by the professionals at KeatsConnelly that are part of the Cross-Border Series include, The Border Guide: A Guide to Living, Working, and Investing across the Border , A Canadian’s Best Tax Haven: The US , and Buying Real Estate in the US: The Concise Guide for Canadians . You can find these books at,,, or, or
We are writing another book that will cover the Taxation of Americans in Canada . This book should be rel

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