The new administration in the U.S. may be talking about changes to the tax system and rates but none will be made in time to affect 2016 tax returns. For the estimated one million U.S. citizens living in Canada who may be required to file a U.S. tax return, there are a few changes that could have an impact when they send their paperwork to the IRS.
Unlike the Canadian tax system, the U.S. system is based on both citizenship and residency. It means that even if they leave the country to live elsewhere, U.S. citizens may have tax filing obligations with the IRS. In many cases, U.S. citizens didn't realize they needed to file tax returns after they left the country.
For U.S. citizens and green card holders living outside of the United States, the deadline for filing their U.S. taxes or requesting an extension was June 15. But like most things related to U.S. taxes, it is not that simple. There are additional filing requirements related to foreign assets and financial accounts that also need to be considered.
From the Canadian Federal election to the collapse of oil prices to a jump in food prices, 2015 was a year of changes. And your tax return is no exception. But unlike previous years, there are only a few changes. However, even small changes can help you save a few tax dollars.
If you need to file U.S. taxes, the time to ignore your filing obligations seems to be rapidly coming to an end. After much debate and a court case to try and stop it, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) came into effect in 2015 and the first information share between the Canada Revenue Agency and the IRS happened in September.
Last week, Canadian government plans for keeping better track of people coming and going from the U.S. were revealed. The driving purpose for the increased scrutiny will save the government millions of dollars in social benefits on those who shouldn't receive them because they are out of the country.
As expected, the court challenge to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) by two Canadians failed to stop the flow of information between the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) happening in the last half of September. Lawyers for the Canadians argued that the agreement was an unlawful use of the tax treaty and a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedom and was unconstitutional but a Federal Court judge disagreed.
Under the FATCA rules, financial institutions are obligated to provide the IRS with information about accounts and holdings of U.S. citizens. Basically, the IRS is trying to make sure you are not hiding money overseas though Canada is hardly a tax haven. But there is more to this overreaching legislation that just tracking down deadbeat U.S. citizens.
"He's entrapped," said Carol Tapanila, the 70-year-old mother. "There's no way out. He is entrapped into U.S. citizenship
Starting next July, Canadian banks will be required to ask anyone opening a new account if they are now, or ever have been