Friday, September 20, 2013

Cross-border Banking & US Taxes


For anyone who spends time in the US, it's great to be able to go to an ATM machine and take out US cash if you run short.  However, if you spend several months at a time, banking fees and charges for money exchange can really add up.  The Toronto Star recently ran an article on the options for US bank accounts versus a Canadian account in US funds and the same options for credit cards.  Which one is right for you?
The article also discusses buying property in the US.  Check it out.
Just remember, you must keep track of the amount of time that you spend in the US, or you could end up having to pay US income and / or estate taxes.  Check out the US IRS web site for the calculation of the Substantial Presence test as well as the exemptions.  If you own property or other assets in the US, you may have other tax obligations. Please check with an accountant who specializes in this area.

Addendum: Dec. 12, 2013 - Check out this article for a simple explanation of when a Canadian would be considered a resident by the US for US tax purposes.

I have a dream

I was at a BBQ last week and as I walked in, I noticed a Get Well Card that everyone was signing - so I asked who it was for. 

One of our friends was just diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and was in Princess Margaret Hospital undergoing treatment.  She is too ill to get out of bed - so obviously is not working.  Her husband was recently "downsized", so her self employment income has been supporting her family and it just came to a screeching stop.  Unfortunately, she never got around to purchasing disability or critical illness insurance.  The family is concerned about how they are going to pay their basic bills - let alone additional expenses that will come up because she is ill.

So. I have a dream (two actually):

1.    To wish my friend (any everyone else who is ill) a speedy recovery

2.     To make sure that everyone I come in contact with, reviews their insurance and financial plans, to minimize the risk that you and your family will be at financial risk if the "God Forbid" happens to you.

If you need assistance - give me a call.