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Hi everyone,

I've recently accepted a job in California so I'll be moving there from Toronto. In total I will have been there < 183 days since I'll be moving in mid-August. I had a few questions about tax implications on my investment accounts and income taxes and would really appreciate any advice/tips from the community :)

Thanks for all the help!!!

  • Am I still considered a Canadian resident for this year, 2017? I will have spent < 183 days in the US.
  • If yes, do I need to do anything with my TFSA, RRSP, and LIRA accounts this year?
  • If I am still considered a Canadian resident while I work in the US, do I need to file a Canadian tax return for income made in the US?
TFSA
  • Do I need to close out my TFSA account? If so, I'm assuming I should do this before I become a non-Canadian resident?
  • If I don't buy or sell anything in the account, can I keep it open? Or does it convert to a trust? What if I plan on coming back to Canada?
  • If I have losers in my TFSA account, what is the best course of action?
RRSP
  • This is a general RRSP question that has nothing to do with moving to the US, can I contribute to my RRSP account and not claim it in the year I contributed?
  • Do I need to close out my RRSP/LIRA account? From what I've read the answer is no and I shouldn't.
    - If no, can I buy and sell without tax implications?
    - If no, can I buy and hold without any tax implications?
    - What is the best course of action to take if I keep my RRSP account open? For winners/losers.
  • Is my RRSP treated the same as my LIRA?
Margin
  • If I am a Canadian resident, do I only report this on the Canadian tax return? What about the US tax return?
 

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How long do you intend to be in the US? (Not just the part of this year, but your total stay).

You may want to find a tax accountant who is qualified for both Canada & US and do a consultation. These issues get very complicated -- US tax law is extremely ugly. This summer, I am meeting again with my dual country expert and I'll probably pay $300 for the hour consultation.

Try to get your new employer to cover your tax issue costs, perhaps as part of relocation. The costs in your first 12 months for tax issues (advice, planning, paperwork) could be around $1,000.
 

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Check out the Serbinski tax forum as well which is specifically for cross-border issues. https://forums.serbinski.com/viewforum.php?f=2

James is right. You will need a cross-border tax accountant and the first visit needs to be done well before you leave.....so that you can position your portfolio correctly BEFORE you leave. A key question will be on what kind of Visa are you on, how long you might stay in California, etc. That is to help an accountant determine whether you should try to stay a resident of Canada for tax purposes (short term assignment of 1-2 years for example) versus "emigrating" to the USA for an indefinite longer period.

Be aware: California is one of those states that will tax the income in your RRSP despite the IRS not doing so. Some states don't acknowledge the US-Can tax treaty.
 
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