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Crossing Borders - What Happens First?

Canadians and Americans typically feel at home on either side of the border because, socially and culturally, there are many similarities. There are, however, significant differences when conducting financial transactions. Even something as seemingly simple as Canadians and Americans buying or selling real estate needs to be approached with care.

If you are a Canadian returning to Canada after U.S. employment, you’ll likely have questions on what to do with your immigration status. Should you surrender your green card or how best to relinquish your work visa? What about your individual IRA, 401(k) and 403(b) retirement accounts, how best to manage these assets when moving back to Canada?

If you’re a U.S. citizen living and working in Canada, what do you need to be careful of, with respect to retirement and savings accounts? How do you avoid double taxation and expensive accounting costs?

There’s an old saying that, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and, for any person living a cross-border lifestyle for work or retirement, that is especially true. Perhaps you married an American citizen contemplating retirement in Canada and you have questions about enrolling in health care or about how your U.S. source income will be taxed. You may have questions about renouncing your U.S. or Canadian citizenship.

And what about Americans returning home to the U.S.? What happens to your Canadian retirement accounts and how will you draw income from them when the day comes to stop working? Making a decision to relocate to either the U.S. or Canada is complicated and the complexity of your move necessitates thoughtful and careful planning. There are immigration, tax and estate issues that must be addressed prior to your relocation.

What happens first? You’ll want to plan and map out your strategy. We specialize in helping families that have worked in both Canada and the U.S., who have questions on how best to navigate the investment and tax issues that arise. Ultimately, we can help simplify and facilitate a stress-free relocation, retirement and cross-border lifestyle.

Joseph Dawson, Financial Advisor CFP®