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Old 01-04-2008, 02:57 PM
 
145 posts, read 615,384 times
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My wife and I are considering moving to Toronto in the back half of this year. She is a Canadian w/US Green Card and I'm a US citizen. We have a 2 year old son who was born here. I have read a lot of threads here but have questions on my own personal situation. My wife, though she is from Canada, is actually not as solid about this sort of information as I'd like so I'm reaching out to the broader group here first because I rather not ask this of her family who are still in Canada.

1. If we move, she will likely lose her job but I will hopefully get a transfer. If I don't get the transfer, then we are not moving. So our household income will likely go down from US but, best guess, hover around $200K canadian. Given that, how much would we have as take-home? In US, there is a retirement scheme called 401K that we all contribute to that is deducted from the paycheck. It is basically a pension for when we retire. Is there such an animal in Canada? How much do you contribute to it? What would be left over after taxes and saving for retirement?

2. Given whatever is leftover from #1, where would you suggest we live? I need to be close to downtown but don't have to be in downtown per se but next to it or 10-20 minutes by car from it. As a referance point, her family lives in London, Hamilton, Brantford, and a bit in Mississauga. Of these, the first 3 are completely out of the question. The last one seems to be quite far from downtown.

3. My son is currently a US citizen but since his mother is Canadian, is it worth applying for dual citizenship for him? In the same vein, my wife has a green card. Is it possible to keepn that or do you lose it after a while? For me, I'm planning on hanging on to my US citizenship.

4. I've learned quite a bit about taxes on these forums but am still not clear. I get it that both my wife and I qualify for a tax exemption from US taxes for about $85,000 each or roughly $170K for the both of us. Does that mean I get double taxed on the remaining $30K? When my wife finds a job in TO, will we basically have to pay double taxes on her whole income? Shouldn't taxes paid in Canada offset the US taxes somehow?

5. What happens to my social security that I have paid so far? Does that "disappear"?

6. We own a home in Chicago. Based on what I have read, its probably not worth it to keep my domicile in Chicago after the move, so I understand that we lose the homestead tax exemption. Any other watchouts?

7. When we move our possessions to Canada, is there any duty/fee/tax that we have to pay at the border? I'm specifically worried about our 2 cars since they are the most visible.

8. I understand that insurance is a killer in Canada. How much for a run of the mill 4 door sedan per year usually? How much for an extreme sports car?

I think that about covers it so far. I may hire an attorney to guide me through some of these issues but I wouldn't have even known about these had it not been for this board, so for that, thank you all. It is extremely helpful to know what I don't know.

Looking forward to some lucid responses. Thanks again

Last edited by desibear; 01-04-2008 at 03:17 PM..
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Old 01-04-2008, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
9,020 posts, read 12,701,247 times
Reputation: 10980
Quote:
Originally Posted by desibear View Post

1. If we move, she will likely lose her job but I will hopefully get a transfer. If I don't get the transfer, then we are not moving. So our household income will go down from US but, best guess, hover around $200K canadian. Given that, how much would we have as take-home? In US, there is a retirement fund called 401K that we all contribute to that is deducted from the paycheck. It is basically a pension for when we retire. Is there such an animal in Canada? How much do you contribute to it? What would be left over after taxes and saving for retirement?

2. Given whatever is leftover from #1, where would you suggest we live? I need to be close to downtown but don't have to be in downtown per se but next to it or 10-20 minutes by car from it. As a referance point, her family lives in London, Hamilton, Brantford, and a bit in Mississauga. Of these, the first 3 are completely out of the question. The last one seems to be quite far from downtown.

3. My son is currently a US citizen but since his mother is Canadian, is it worth applying for dual citizenship for him? In the same vein, my wife has a green card. Is it possible to keepn that or do you lose it after a while? For me, I'm planning on hanging on to my US citizenship.

4. I've learned quite a bit about taxes on these forums but am still not clear. I get it that both my wife and I qualify for about for a tax exemption from US taxes for about $85,000 each or roughly $170K. Does that mean I get double taxed on the remaining $30K? When my wife finds a job in TO, will we basically have to pay double taxes on her whole income? Shouldn't taxes paid in Canada offset the US taxes somehow?

5. What happens to my social security that I have paid so far? Does that "disappear"?

6. We own a home in Chicago. Based on what I have read, its probably not worth it to keep my domicile in Chicago after the move, so I understand that we lose the homestead tax exemption. Any other watchouts?

7. When we move our possessions to Canada, is there any duty/fee/tax that we have to pay at the border? I'm specifically worried about our 2 cars since they are the most visible.

8. I understand that insurance is a killer in Canada. HOw much for a run of the mill 4 door sedan per year usually? How much for an extreme sports car?

I think that about covers it so far. I may hire an attorney to guide me through some of these issues but I wouldn't have even known about these had it not been for this board, so for that, thank you all. It is extrememly helpful to know what I don't know.

Looking forward to some lucid responses. Thanks again
1) In Canada RRSP=401K The current annual maximum contribution for tax benefit is $20K It is optional, similar to a 401K. You would also have a CPP (Canada Pension Plan) deduction on your cheques, which is like social security. Here's a site for calculating your taxes taxtips.ca - Canadian tax calculator
Rough and dirty, you're looking about 33% tax rate.

2) Can't really help, I'm from Alberta

3) I believe that she would have to apply for an exemption with DHS to keep her green card, as it is a Resident Alien card. I would get dual for your son, it always comes in handy

4) As a US citizen, they don't care that you're already taxed. Of course, your wife isn't a citizen, and has no requirement to keep paying the tax. You would be required to though. That is a US tax issue, I would check with your local accountant.

5) Social security is yours as a citizen, so long as you reside in the US when you need it. No different than my CPP, now that I live in the US.

6) There are no homestead exemptions in Canada. The interest on your mortgage isn't tax deductable either, nor are your property taxes.

7) Household goods aren't taxed when immigrating. However be aware that your vehicles may need to be modified to meet Transport Canada requirements. Transport Canada - Transports Canada

8) Depends greatly on driving record, coverage, deductable etc. Check with a local insurance provider.

I'm going through the same sort of exercise here in the US. Good luck.

Mike
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:50 AM
 
4,282 posts, read 15,074,435 times
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Default Semi-lucid response

1. The previous poster pretty well covered the basics of Registered Retirement Savings Plans. On another issue, you mentioned you hope to get a job transfer. Does this mean you personally will be entering Canada on a temporary work visa obtained through your employer? If not, you will need to seek Permanent Resident status in order to be eligible to work. If PR status is in your future, be advised it takes some time to submit the application and receive approvals. Welcome Page | Page d'accueil . An income of 200K/annum should you allow you to live quite comfortably.

2. As you mentioned, London, Hamilton and Brantford are entirely out of the question if you need to be within 20 minutes of the downtown core. Mississauga is a chiefly residential suburb attached to the west boundary of Toronto. While it might be feasible to reach the downtown area in your time frame in non-rush hour periods, you can count on an much longer commute in heavy traffic conditions.

To keep things to a 30 minute car commute in rush hour, I'd think you need to concentrate your housing options within the City of Toronto boundaries. Try mls.ca - Welcome for housing options by geographical area.

Accessing the downtown core by automobile is, quite frankly, a pain in the butt. The downtown financial district is well served by the Toronto Transit Commission subway system, the GO Transit surface train system, and the VIA rail surface train system. If public transit was a viable option, you could expand your search outward to include suburbs like Markham, Aurora, Mississauga, or Ajax/Pickering.

3. Obtaining dual citizenship for your son could be well worth while. Having multiple options for his future can only be to his benefit.

4. Consult the IRS International division in Philadelphia 215-516-2000, or consult an international tax specialist/accountant.

5. Your SS remains intact and you'll be eligible to draw benefits according to the contributions already made.

6. As mentioned, mortgage interest and property taxes are not tax deductable in Canada. However, your principal residence is not subject to Capital Gains tax when you sell it. In other words, if you purchase a home at 300K, use it as your principal residence for at least a year, and then sell it for 500K, the 200K profit made on the sale is not subject to taxation as income.

7. When you move your household goods to Canada, you'll be required to submit an inventory. There are no taxes or duties payable on these items. As mentioned, automobiles may have to be approved as meeting Canadian standards. This site explains the process: Vehicle Importation from the United States (http://www.tc.gc.ca/roadsafety/importation/impusae.htm - broken link)

8. Each Canadian province has different automobile insurance regulations. Ontario's insurance companies have divided the province into different zones for the purpose of establishing rates. Congested areas like Toronto have higher rates outlying, rural areas. Prices vary greatly from one company to the next, so it pays to shop around. I reside a 100 miles from Toronto in a rural area. For our 2004 Dodge Intrepid sedan with 2 drivers with clean records and a $500 deductable, insurance runs about $850.
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:37 AM
 
145 posts, read 615,384 times
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Hi Mike - Thanks so much for the links and the info. Foolowing your link, looks like my tax rate will be more like 36% (major ouchie). As far as housing goes, is there a rule of thumb in Canada similar to US (3x income maximum)? Checked out your transport link and both our cars are on the approved list, so crossing our fingers on that one.

Hi Cornerguy1 - Thank you so much as well. I believe if I get the intra-company transfer, it should entitle me for a temporary work visa. Not sure what the timing is on that one. As far as I know, no one has done this from my office so really even my work is sort of iffy on exactly what to do. You suggest 20 minutes within Downtown. Any suggestions for a family friendly neighborhood within that zone? Somewhere close enough to night life but contains open land, such as parks?

I think we are going to try "dualing" it for all of us as much as possible. Like you said, it only adds to the options. I pinged one of my friends in Mississuaga and he is paying about $110/month for a Grand Am. No accidents, clean history, 5 year old car. Something like that here would be no more than $50 (assuming equal coverage), so my rule of thumb right now is that insurance is roughly 2x that of US in Toronto (esp. near downtown).


Any other major points that I'm forgetting? Any idea how long it takes to get the temp. work Visa once an intra-company transfer is approved?
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Old 10-24-2011, 12:30 PM
 
1 posts, read 5,411 times
Reputation: 10
desibear,
I know it's been awhile since you posted this, but I'm currently contemplating the same scenario you had. moving somewhere between Niagara Falls(her parents) and Mississauga(possible job offer for her)
My wife is Canadian, American green card, my 2 year old son and I are American.
I work from home and have confirmed with my employer that it would be ok to stay working for them in Canada.
My biggest concern is my Roth IRA, 401K, Social Security...etc...

It would be great if I could somehow contact you and discuss your transition(if you made it).
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:27 PM
 
1,726 posts, read 5,506,439 times
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One important thing to note is the wife could lose her green card if she is out of the U.S. for more than 180 days at a time.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:59 AM
 
1,746 posts, read 4,866,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarp View Post
One important thing to note is the wife could lose her green card if she is out of the U.S. for more than 180 days at a time.
For more than a year, to be precise. Staying out of the US over 6 months and up to 1 year would merely break her continuing residence for citizenship purposes. However, she will not lose her green card.

Getting a re-entry permit before she leaves the US will allow her to be out for up to 2 years and still retain the US permanent resident status if she returns before 2 years expire.
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