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The Border Guide: A guide to living, working, and investing across the border.


The Border Guide (10th Edition) is the definitive guide to cross-border financial planning for Canadians who either live in the U.S. seasonally or all year round. It also includes useful information for U.S. citizens living or just investing in Canada. Many Canadians incorrectly assume that the laws governing investment, taxation, and immigration are the same in the U.S. as they are in Canada. This easy-to-follow guide can help anyone transact their cross-border business affairs...
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The Border Guide (10th Edition) is the definitive guide to cross-border financial planning for Canadians who either live in the U.S. seasonally or all year round. It also includes useful information for U.S. citizens living or just investing in Canada. Many Canadians incorrectly assume that the laws governing investment, taxation, and immigration are the same in the U.S. as they are in Canada. This easy-to-follow guide can help anyone transact their cross-border business affairs with confidence.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551808550
  • Publisher: Self-Counsel Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/15/2009
  • Series: Cross-Border Series
  • Edition description: 10th Edition
  • Edition number: 10
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 285,642
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Keats, CFP, is an internationally renowned expert on cross-border financial planning. He is a contributing editor to Canadian MoneySaver magazine and is president and major shareholder of the largest financial advisory firm specializing in cross-border financial planning.

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Table of Contents

An Introduction to Personal Cross-Border Financial Planning 1
How long can you remain in the United States as a visitor? 2
Crossing the 49th parallel will no longer be easy 6
Where to live or winter in the United States 7
Arizona 8
California 9
Florida 9
Popular cross-border misconceptions 10
What is the Canada-U.S. Tax Treaty? 12
Cross-border Q&A 14
Rules governing U.S. residence 14
U.S. residency has many obligations requiring careful financial planning 16
Sick relative is not enough to justify U.S. visits 16
How to Beat the Exchange Rate Blues 18
Eliminating the exchange rate blues 18
Hedging your bets 20
No exchange loss if you convert Canadian dollars now 22
What can you expect if you invest in the United States? 25
Avoiding U.S. income tax on your investments 26
Where is the best place to exchange money? 26
Dealing with foreign exchange brokers 28
Cross-Border Tax Planning 30
Taxing non-resident aliens 30
Contents iii
Dual citizens and green card holders resident in Canada 32
IRS gives amnesty to U.S. citizens in Canada 33
New U.S. tax legislation concerning expatriation from the United States 36
Non-resident to resident in the United States 37
The Substantial Presence Test 37
The Closer Connection Exception 38
Tax treaty protection for U.S. non-residents and residents 42
Who must file in the United States? 43
How and when to apply for a U.S. Social Security or Tax ID Number 45
Canada and United States income tax comparison 46
Personal exemptions 51
Pensions 51
Mortgage interest and property taxes 52
Provincial and state income taxes 52
Earned interest deductions or deferment 52
Capital gains deductions 52
Medical expenses 53
Registered retirement plans 53
Charitable donations 54
Education plans 54
Stock options 54
Miscellaneous deductions 55
Cross-border Q&A 55
Education plan for a U.S. grandchild 55
Filing for part-time work in the U.S. 56
Choose tax filing wisely 57
Remarriage legalities need attention 58
Filing Closer Connection form saves time, headaches 58
Condo generates taxes on profits 60
Tax-filing strategy could save money 61
Better late than never 62
Does a green card have an expiration date? 63
Avoiding U.S. estate taxes 64
Effects of dual citizenship 65
Canadian citizens versus legal residents 66
Withholding tax compliance on U.S. rental income 67
The long arm of the law 69
Residency for tax purposes 69
Aliens and the 1040NR 70
Sharing the wealth of tax information 71
Non-resident Estate Planning 73
The U.S. non-resident estate tax 76
The taxable estate 77
U.S. federal estate tax 78
Unified credit 78
The new Canada-U.S. Tax Treaty estate tax provisions 79
Determining exemptions 80
The double taxation issue 82
How to avoid the U.S. non-resident estate tax 84
Become a U.S. resident 84
Mortgage your U.S. property 84
Joint property ownership with children 85
Have an insurance company pay the tax 86
Establish appropriate trusts 87
Use exempt U.S. investments 87
Use a Canadian holding company 88
Sell your property and rent 89
Individual states estate tax concerns 90
Is your Canadian will valid in the United States? 91
Living trusts: A simple solution to problems with wills 94
Power of attorney: Should you have one? 96
What happens if you die in the United States? 96
What is a gift tax? 98
Cross-border Q&A 99
Have separate power of attorney in the United States 99
Does a living trust satisfy Canada Customs and
Revenue Agency? 99
Where there’s a will, there’s a way 100
Calculating the new treaty exemption 101
Changing title and U.S. tax obligations on Florida property 102
Canadian tax obligations when selling Florida property 103
Single-purpose Canadian holding companies 104
Getting the Most from Out-of-Country Medical Coverage 106
Remaining in the United States more than six months 112
Insurance for Canadians moving to the United States 112
Have your cake and eat it too! 115
What happens if you get sick in the United States? 116
Cross-border Q&A 117
Some can make use of both OHIP and U.S. Medicare 117
Health costs often raise U.S. cost of living 118
Resident aliens may find Medicare problems 119
Resident aliens may need hospital indemnity insurance 120
Snowbird must qualify for the U.S. Social Security,
Medicare 121
Does a Canadian spouse receive Medicare? 122
An Investor’s Guide to the United States 123
The investment options 124
Certificates of deposit 124
Mutual funds 125
Money market funds 126
Limited partnerships 127
Real estate 127
Specialty funds 128
Specialty portfolios 129
Exempt investments 129
Understanding investment risks 130
The rewards of global investing 132
Choosing an international investment manager 133
Cross-border Q&A 136
Does U.S. law forbid non-resident brokerage accounts? 136
Holding securities in street form and U.S. Treasury notes 137
Specialty funds for non-residents 137
Keeping a Canadian brokerage account as a U.S. resident 139
Can Canadian brokers act for U.S. residents? 139
Transferring accounts and finding a U.S.-based broker 140
Moving to the United States 142
How to become a legal resident of the United States 142
Immigration categories 144
Green card or employment-based immigrant categories 144
First preference 144
Second preference 145
Third preference 145
Fourth preference 146
Fifth preference 146
Employment-based non-immigrant categories 146
NAFTA professionals 148
Family-based immigrant categories 149
Derivative citizenship: Are you a U.S. citizen? 150
Applying for U.S. citizenship 153
Dual citizenship: Is it possible? 154
The green card lottery 155
Legal retirement in the United States 156
Canadian residents holding green cards 158
Marriage to a U.S. citizen 160
What to do if you are refused entry to the United States 161
Cross-border Q&A 162
Professional Canadian wants to work in the U.S. 162
Plan ahead for cross-border marriage 163
New rules allow green card application as property sells 165
U.S. citizenship is a maternal matter 166
Retirement visa is a U.S. possibility 166
Know U.S. rules for residency change 167
Reclaiming Canadian citizenship is a complicated,
lengthy process 169
Green card gone? Start over again 169
Born in the United States, dual citizenship not lost 170
Obtaining a green card 170
Derivative citizenship 171
Hiring an immigration attorney 172
Immigration strategies and the need for financial planning 172
Is U.S. citizenship required for estate tax exemptions? 174
The real deal on dual citizenship 175
Staying on both sides of the border 175
Reasons for being refused entry at the border 177
Banned from the United States 178
Canadian Versus U.S. Taxation Policies 179
Keep more of your CPP/QPP and OAS 180
Interest income: Tax-free, if you wish 182
Pensions: Partially tax-free 184
Employment income 185
Capital gains 186
Dividends 188
Alimony 189
Total income: The real comparison 189
Canadian non-resident withholding tax 193
Withdraw your RRSP tax-free! 196
Eleven key reasons to remove your RRSP from Canada 198
Breaking the lock on locked-in RRSPs 205
Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) 207
Tax on exiting Canada 208
Canadian departure checklist 209
Transferring your credit rating to the United States 211
U.S. estate planning 212
Cross-border Q&A 215
Canadian exit procedures 215
Transferring Canadian credit history to the U.S. 216
Marriage to Canadian with an RRSP 217
Keeping a Canadian cottage as a U.S. resident 218
Deferring tax on RRSP under treaty 219
Converting E-2 visa status and holding Canadian RRSPs 220
Making RRSP contributions for the year you leave Canada 221
Recovering withholding tax on Canadian income 224
Should you collapse your Canadian RRSP? 225
Cross-border RRIFs can be tricky business 227
Recovering Canadian non-resident withholding tax 227
Returning Residents 229
Immigration to Canada 230
Giving up your U.S. citizenship or green card 230
Investment gains and income 232
U.S. retirement plans 233
U.S. stock options, bonuses and deferred compensation 235
Retirement Plans from a Canadian employer for
Americans in Canada 235
U.S. Social Security 236
Canadian OAS and CPP/QPP 236
Pre-entry trusts 237
Canadian foreign reporting 237
United States to Canada: Your estate plan 238
Medical coverage 240
Deductions lost 241
U.S. departing alien income tax return 242
Canadian pre-entry review 242
Cross-border Q&A 243
Moving back to Canada 243
Green card must be given up 245
Returning Canadian resident loses Homestead Exemption 246
Moving back to Canada: The sequel 247
Tax treaty can reduce withholding on 401k plans 248
Investing as a U.S. Resident 249
Investment Priorities 250
1. Objective — Income 251
2. Objective — Growth and Income 252
3. Objective — Growth 253
4. Objective — Aggressive Growth 254
The Art of Double Dipping 255
U.S. medical coverage 257
Applying for social security and avoiding the windfall elimination provisions 260
Cross-border Q&A 262
Social security spousal benefit good for cross-border worker 262
Fighting the windfall elimination rules with social security 263
Social security application denied — no 1099 slips 265
Cross-border living can get complicated 266
U.S. move needs forethought 266
Know social security rules 268
Work for U.S. security rules 269
Married and living in the U.S 270
Medicare comes faster through marriage 271
Agreement between Canada and U.S. can work to snowbirds’ income advantage 272
Private insurance fills gap until medicare coverage starts 273
Extra work triggers social security for Canadians 274
How Small-Business Owners Can Reap Huge Rewards 275
A Canadian corporation can assist with U.S. immigration 275
How to take a capital gains tax holiday 276
Tax ramifications of maintaining a Canadian corporation 278
Choosing a Cross-Border Planning Professional 281
The team approach 282
Locating a good cross-border professional 283
What about using an accountant? 285
What to expect from cross-border financial planners 287
What does a cross-border financial plan cost? 288
A consumer bill of rights for financial planning 289
Keeping in touch 293
List of Useful Free Publications 295
Provincial and State Tax Rates 297
Canadian Embassy and Consulates in the United States 301
U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada 302
Canadian Tax Services and Newsletters in the United States 302
Private Travel Insurance Carriers 303
Immigration Address List 304
Web Sites for Canadian Business and Trade Information 306
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