cross border real estate, taxes?

Hi there, i came across your site while searching for tax info. i am a canadian and
want to buy income-property apartments in the usa but before getting involved wondered what the tax implication are. if you can help, thanks.

 
----------------------------------------
david ingam replies:

There are a myriad of things you have to look after.  The following may help and was presented by me to 113 people at a Jurock (www.jurock.com) Real Estate seminar at SFU on Jan 6,  2008

xxxxxx wrote:

Hello,
 
My name is xxxxxx and I'm writting to get some help regarding buying a home in the U.S while we are Canadian citizen.  
 
I tried to search the internet to see if I can find details relating to this but I have no luck so far with the information.

Our main concern is we are not a US citizen and we are afraid of the tax or problems we may encounter when it comes to purchasing a property in a country we don't reside in.
 
1.  Since we are not a US citizen, are we even allow to purchase a home out of our country?
2.  If we can, are there any penalties to this purchase?
3.  Will there be extra taxes incurred?
4.  Do we have to report this to our tax services/ government etc?
5.  What are the process in this situation if we decide to purchase a home in the U.S?
6.  Will we be able to rent out the property?
7.  Will there be any type of money withhold if we decide to rent the property out?
8.  Commonly what would be the cost to hire a property manager/agent in the U.S?
9.  Do we need to report to the U.S government for any reason?
10. Will the US government make this transition difficult since we are not a resident?
 
I do apologize for the list of questions here but I just thought there are no better place to find information regarding this than to ask you.  I will continue to search the internet about this but in the mean time, any help you can give is greatly appreciated.
 
Awaiting your response,
 
xxxxx
 
-----------------------------------------------------------
david ingram replies:

1.   yes
2.   other than paperwork, none in particular
3.   yes, if Canada invokes its fifty percent rule, it will opnly allow you 50% of the tax you pay (omn sale) ass a tax credit on your Canadian return.
4.   If rented, you must report the rent and expenses on US form 1040NR and schedule E and 4562. Then report the same figures on Canadian schedule 776.  If you live in Quebec, you will file it again on the Quebec return and if it is in a taxing state, you will have to file a State tax return.  Each owner has to do this.  If any tax was paid to the US and state, you can claim i9t as a foreign tax credit on line 431 and 433 of your Canadian return.
5.   find an agent, buy the property. Find a rental agent - Do NOT do ANY work on it if you are going to rent it out.
6.   yes
7.   not usually, but you will have to file an annual return and pay tax if there is a profit.
8.   a month's rent plus 8% of the rent each month if a non-resident.  You might find one for 5% and some will charge 10%.  You usually get what you pay for.
9.   Yep, you will need an ITIN each and yuou get that by filing form W7 whiocyh you can find in Forms and publications at www.irs.gov.
10.   not at all.

This older q & a will likley help as well. I just spoke to 113 people at Ozzie Jurock's Real Estae Group at SFU on Jan 6th and this was most of the  speech I gave.
 
from: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
QUESTION: I am looking at buying property in the US.
What tax implications should I be looking at beforehand?
Also, can trips taken there to look at properties be claimed as an expense after I've bought?  Can trips just to look be claimed against anything (what if I look in Vegas, Arizona, and Portland, but only end up buying in one or none).


------------------------------------------------
david ingram replies:

I actually spoke to 113 people at Ozzie Jurock's Seminar at SFU on Monday Night, Jan 7 2008.

The trips are not a writeoff against other income.  If you buy something they can be addded to the cost of the property you did buy.

i.e., if you spejnt $5,000 on trips and paid $200,000, the cost of the unit for future depreciation purposes would be $205,000 less any land value.

It would also affect any future taxable capital gains when you sold the property.

Remember if you do a piece of real estate for investment, you can NOT do any work on it whatsoever.  If you do, you risk jail, fines and being banned from the US for 3, 5, 10 year or even forever.

The following two pieces plus a sample US rental tax return were handed out at the seminar.

ONE dealt with the working issue and what forms to fill out.


David Ingram's US/Canada Services
US/Canada/Mexico Tax Immigration & working Visa Specialists
US / Canada Real Estate Specialists
4466 Prospect Road
North Vancouver,  BC, CANADA, V7N 3L7
Calls accepted from 10 AM to 10 PM 7 days a week
Res (604) 980-3578 Cell (604) 657-8451
Bus (604) 980-0321 Fax (604) 980-0325
davidingram@shaw.ca
www.centa.com www.david-ingram.com

Jan 6, 2008.

Rentals in the USA.

QUESTION that came to me from ASK AN EXPERT at  www.jurock.com


We just purchased property in Spokane Washington( a 4 plex apartments)
We plan on renting out 3 of the units and keeping one.  I was told by the border crossing inspector,
that I have to hire a rental agency in order to rent out the apartments.
and I also  have to have a property manger full time..
We will be at our apartment approx 2 times a month..
So we do not need a property manager.
Do you know if this true,, or please direct me to the correct person that would be able to help me.
Thanks for your time.
----------------------------------------------------------

david ingram replies:

You need a property manager if you do not want the strong possibility of going to jail for a few days before being deported and then not allowed back in the USA. For a story about US Immigrations hell for a Holiday Inn Manager, try
http://apostille.us/news/local_holiday_inn_express_manager_in_jail_on_immigration_charges;_husband_fights_for_her_return.shtml
or how about a married woman's ordeal in Georgia for a traffic violation  at
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=f4f1d2fb-07ae-4560-8f6c-703acf8146fb&k=0

Crossing the border when you have an ad running to show the premises and saying you are going down to spend the weekend in your holiday home (i.e lying to the HOMELAND Security official) could result in seizure of your vehicle and a ban for up to 10 years under their ER (Expedited Removal) process.  In other words, it is more serious to lie to the guard at the border than it is to do the work.

You 'could' actually show the property for rent,  but you can NOT write out a contract for rent or collect a single rent cheque (check) or cash for rent in the United States. There is nothing new about this.  The first time I ran into it was in 1972 or 1973.

If you are physically there, you can NOT cut the grass, shovel the sidewalk, paint or decorate or repair or fix or remodel or improve or take out the garbage for any part of the rental property.

You can paint and clean your own unit if it is NEVER rented or intended to be rented. You can not paint and clean up getting the property ready for rent so DO NOT make the mistake of thinking you can live in one, clean it up and remodel it and then rent it out and do the same for another one and then another one and another one. If you do this and one of your tenants (who maybe doesn't like you because you evicted them or told them to turn their strereo down when you happen to be in town or for any other reason) read my website, (or the uscis website) he or she would find out that you can NOT do this stuff and could phone the Homeland Security office or write an anonymous letter and you could be arrested in November 2008 for something you did in December 2007. 

This may seem unreal, but in US terms, working without a visa is just as serious in law as the spontaneous robbing of a convenience store and the penalties can be worse.  Think of those nightly news shows with 28 illegal Mexican or Guatamelan citizens being stuffed into Paddy wagons on the Arizona border. This is not a racist comment but with the Mexican illegal immigrants, bing rounded up and shipped back across the border is a way of life with no social stigma.  For a nice clean living Canadian, being thown into an immigration detention cell for taking money for rent is a devestating experience. In one case, a mother and her son were thrown into jail for 5 days in Phoenix when she went to Phoenix from White Rock BC.  Her husband owned 18 units and HAD a property manager.  Unfortunately, he also died in the arms of that female property manager and his widow then fired the property manager and she and her 20 year old son went to Phoenix to collect the rent and hire another property manager.

The property manager (who knew the law as everyone in Arizona does) phoned Homeland Security who showed up and arrested mother and son and threw them into the notorious Phoenix Immigration hell with some 300 other illegals. To rub salt into the widow's wounds, the property manager ended up with the property because she was a second mortgage holder on the property and the property fell into default because of the widow's cash flow troubles, largely because she could not go to Phoenix to hire another property manager.

For instance, for 'you', this kind of arrest could result in imprisonment for a usual five days in a US immigration jail until you posted $5,000 bail each and then being banished from the US for five to ten years. 

It does not stop there.  This type of conviction would stop you getting on an airplane which stopped in the USA on the way to Mexico.  AND,  under new US laws that have been proposed but not yet actually put in place, the arrest and banning would stop your Nov 6 trip to Cancun because people in this position will not even be allowed on commercial airliners that are flying over any part of the US. To get to Cancun, you would have to fly from Calgary or Vancouver to London England and then back to Mexico City and 'then' to Cancun and reverse it to get home.

This may be overkill but 'You' are / were lucky that the inspector gave you the correct advice BEFORE you put your foot in it.

By the way, for income tax You ALSO HAVE TO FILE A 1040NR US TAX RETURN WITH A SCHEDULE E AND A SCHEDULE 4562  EACH.  Then the same income gets put on Schedule T776 of your Canadian return.  If you have paid tax to the US, you will claim it as a credit on Canadian forms T2209 and T2036.

David Ingram's US/Canada Services
US/Canada/Mexico Tax Immigration & working Visa Specialists
US / Canada Real Estate Specialists
4466 Prospect Road
North Vancouver,  BC, CANADA, V7N 3L7
Calls accepted from 10 AM to 10 PM 7 days a week
Res (604) 980-3578 Cell (604) 657-8451
Bus (604) 980-0321 Fax (604) 980-0325
davidingram@shaw.ca
www.centa.com www.david-ingram.com

-------------------------
The second dealt with making your personal mortgage interest in Canada deductible and the Overs, Evans, Lipson and Singleton tax cases and GAAR

David Ingram's US/Canada Services

Mortgage Interest as a Deduction in 2008 – dealing with GAAR

I first conceived of this method in 1975/76 when a client of mine had a rental duplex and had a tenant who was injured in a car accident.  It was at the time of the changeover from private insurance to ICBC and the injured single mother tenant was waiting for an insurance settlement. 

My client allowed his tenant to stay in the half duplex for more than a year and to stay afloat him self, he borrowed money to pay the duplex bills. When doing his 1975 tax return, we deducted the interest paid on the loan because the purpose of the loan was clearly to fund the rental duplex.   

When he finally got his cheque for more than $5,000 from the tenant, it would have been all over if he had just paid the loan off and we had not thought about it. But my client, bless his soul, phoned and asked if he had to pay off the loan (which was deductible) or could he use the money for another non-deductible purpose.

My answer, after thinking about it for a day or so, was that he could us e the $5,000+ for any purpose he could think of.  At the same time, I said this, I was also writing something for the North Shore Credit Union and put my ‘new’ method of making the mortgage interest deductible in this report which they then published as part of an advertisement in the North shore News in (I think) November, 1976. 

I expanded it and it was next published by Hancock House Publishers in my Investment Guide in 1979, 1980 and 1985 and 1991 and BC Business magazine in 1979. Sometime in there, the Ontario Dental Association also ran it in their magazine. It then became part of the internet and can be found in the March 1997 and November 2001 newsletters.

I was pretty heavily involved in the Federal  Conservative Party (ran for the North Shore Nomination in 19780 and am proud to say that we got mortgage interest as a tax deduction on the 1979 federal Income tax return. 

Unfortunately, Joe Clark, the Prime Minister at the time, did not count the number of yes votes and lost a non-confidence motion on Dec 12, 1979, and on Feb 18, 1980, Pierre Trudeau was re-elected as Prime Minister and even though there was a 4-page form and a line on the T-1 General that year, the deduction was killed retroactively by the liberal government and we no longer had this benefit for all without manipulating the paperwork.

In 1981, Fred Snyder was running a series of seminars and teaching my method to a lot of different groups.  In one seminar, he taught it to Realtors, McCauley, Nicolls, Maitland and Company and the manager Fraser Smith wrote Fred a letter thanking him for explaining the methods.  In 1985, Fraser Smith than published the SMITH MANOUVRE which explains the method in great detail and at the time, VANCITY Savings Credit Union was featured in the book and was very good at setting up the method.

Then on Oct 27, 1988 John Singleton had approximately $300,000 in his lawyer’s capital account.  He got permission to take the $300,000 out (it was his but was being used as security in his law practice).  He used it to buy a house and then used the house as security to borrow $300,000 which he then put into his capital account; this was all done in one day.  Of course, since the money in the account was now borrowed for business purposes, he deducted the interest on his 1988 and 1989 returns and the Tax Department turned him down.  He appealed and lost in the Tax Court of Canada but won in the Federal court of Appeals.  The CRA appealed to the Supreme Court and in October 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada found in favour of John Singleton in a 5 to 2 decision.

This case has now been quoted and cited in many other cases.  In OVERS 2006 TCC 26, Mr Overs paid back a shareholder-loan, which would have been included in his income.  By doing what he did, co-incidentally, the interest expense was made deductible. 

Mrs Overs borrowed funds to purchase shares of his holding company at their fair market value.  However, Mr Overs did NOT use a 73(1) rollover as Lipson did.  Therefore, no capital gain was realized but the attribution rules in section 74(1) worked to transfer the interest expense on the wife’s borrowed funds -- back to him.

Judge Little turned down the CRA’s claim that tax benefits arose from this series of transactions.  The taxpayer followed the Income Tax Act in repaying his loan and transferring the shares to his wife. Justice Little ruled that the transactions were NOT avoidance transactions and therefore GAAR did not apply. Judge Little ruled that none of the transactions could be considered “abusive tax avoidance”.

And Judge Bowman ruled in favour of Evans (2005 TCC 684).  Judge Bowman found there were no avoidance transactions in what could only be described as a super complicated and very sophisticated series of business restructurings that ended up with a former shareholder receiving cash by using  specific rules in the Act, including sections 85

(rollovers), 110.6 (capital gains exemption), 112 (tax free inter-corporate dividends), 74.5 (attribution) and ss. 84(3) (deemed dividends).

Judge Bowman assumed that there ‘were’ avoidance transactions.  He then dealt with them on an individual basis to decide whether the avoidance transactions were ‘abusive’.  His final decision was that provisions of the Income Tax Act operated as intended and there could not be any abuse.

However, he was not of the same opinion with the LIPSON Family who lost in Lipson v. The Queen, 2006 TCC 148 

Mr Lipson owned a profitable business and:

  1. The Lipsons contracted to buy a home in Forest Hills in Toronto
  2. Mrs Lipson took out a demand loan to buy share in the family business from her husband.
  3. The shares were transferred to Mrs Lipson as a section 73(1)  rollover
  4. Mr Lipson used the funds to buy the house
  5. They “both” took out a mortgage on the house to repay the demand loan

 Judge Bowman used the Section 245 GAAR provisions to rule that the Lipson family was guilty of Gross Abuse of the Tax system.  Perhaps, if they had a business reason for the loan or had not used the Section 73(1) tax free rollover, he would have found in their favour as he did with the EVANS 2005 DTC 1762 case.  In the LIPSON case the wife’s borrowing did not put income in her hands and it was unclear who had paid the interest.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


On December 25, 2007, David Ingram wrote:

It is very unlikely that blind or unexpected email to me will be answered.  I receive anywhere from 100 to 700  unsolicited emails a day and usually answer anywhere from 2 to 20 if they are not from existing clients.  Existing clients are advised to put their 'name and PAYING CUSTOMER' in the subject line and get answered first.  I also refuse to be a slave to email and do not look at it every day and have never ever looked at it when I am out of town. 
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However, I regularly search for the words"PAYING CUSTOMER" and always answer them first if they did not get spammed out. For the last two weeks, I have just found out that my own email notes to myself have been spammed out and as an example, as I write this on Dec 25, 2007 since June 16th, my 'spammed out' box has 47,941 unread messages, my deleted box has 16645 I have actually looked at and deleted and I have actually answered 1234 email questions for clients and strangers without sending a bill.  I have also put aside 847 messages that I am maybe going to try and answer because they look interesting. -e bankruptcy expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax service and  help
Therefore, if an email is not answered in 24 to 36 hours, it is likely lost in space.  You can try and resend it but if important AND YOU TRULY WANT OR NEED AN ANSWER from 'me', you will have to phone to make an appointment.  Gillian Bryan generally accepts appointment requests for me between 10:30 AM and 4:00 PM Monday to Friday VANCOUVER (Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles) time at (604) 980-0321.  david ingram expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service and help.
david ingram's US / Canada Services
US / Canada / Mexico tax, Immigration and working Visa Specialists
US / Canada Real Estate Specialists
My Home office is at:
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North Vancouver,  BC, CANADA, V7N 3L7
Cell (604) 657-8451 -
(604) 980-0321 Fax (604) 980-0325

Calls welcomed from 10 AM to 9 PM 7 days a week  Vancouver (LA) time -  (please do not fax or phone outside of those hours as this is a home office) expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service help.
 
Disclaimer:  This question has been answered without detailed information or consultation and is to be regarded only as general comment.   Nothing in this message is or should be construed as advice in any particular circumstances. No contract exists between the reader and the author and any and all non-contractual duties are expressly denied. All readers should obtain formal advice from a competent and appropriately qualified legal practitioner or tax specialist for expert help, assistance, preparation, or consultation  in connection with personal or business affairs such as at www.centa.com. If you forward this message, this disclaimer must be included." e bankruptcy expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service and help.
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Phone consultations are $400 for 15 minutes to 50 minutes (professional hour). Please note that GST is added if product remains in Canada or is to be returned to Canada or a phone consultation is in Canada. expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service and help.
This is not intended to be definitive but in general I am quoting $900 to $2,900 for a dual country tax return.
$900 would be one T4 slip one W2 slip one or two interest slips and you lived in one country only (but were filing both countries) - no self employment or rentals or capital gains - you did not move into or out of the country in this year.
 
$1,100 would be the same with one rental
 
$1,300 would be the same with one business no rental
 
$1,300 would be the minimum with a move in or out of the country. These are complicated because of the back and forth foreign tax credits. - The IRS says a foreign tax credit takes 1 hour and 53 minutes.
 
$1,600 would be the minimum with a rental or two in the country you do not live in or a rental and a business and foreign tax credits  no move in or out

$1,700 would be for two people with income from two countries

$2,900 would be all of the above and you moved in and out of the country.
 
This is just a guideline for US / Canadian returns
 
We will still prepare Canadian only (lives in Canada, no US connection period) with two or three slips and no capital gains, etc. for $200.00 up.
 
With a Rental for $400, two or three rentals for $550 to $700 (i.e. $150 per rental) First year Rental - plus $250.
 
A Business for $400 - Rental and business likely $550 to $700
 
And an American only (lives in the US with no Canadian income or filing period) with about the same things in the same range with a little bit more if there is a state return.
 
Moving in or out of the country or part year earnings in the US will ALWAYS be $900 and up.
 
TDF 90-22.1 forms are $50 for the first and $25.00 each after that when part of a tax return.
 
8891 forms are generally $50.00 to $100.00 each.
 
18 RRSPs would be $900.00 - (maybe amalgamate a couple)
 
Capital gains *sales)  are likely $50.00 for the first and $20.00 each after that.

Catch - up returns for the US where we use the Canadian return as a guide for seven years at a time will be $150 to $500.00 per year depending upon numbers of bank accounts, RRSP's, existence of rental houses, self employment, etc.

Just a guideline not etched in stone.
 
 
This from "ask an income trusts tax service and immigration expert" from www.centa.com or www.jurock.com or www.featureweb.com. David Ingram deals on a daily basis with expatriate tax returns with multi jurisdictional cross and trans border expatriate problems  for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, China, New Zealand, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Georgia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Scotland, Ireland, Hawaii, Florida, Montana, Morocco, Israel, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mali, Bangkok, Greenland, Iceland, Cuba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Barbados, St Vincent, Grenada,, Virgin Islands, US, UK, GB, and any of the 43 states with state tax returns, etc. Rockwall, Dallas, San Antonio Houston, Denmark, Finland, Sweden Norway Bulgaria Croatia Income Tax and Immigration Tips, Income Tax  Immigration Wizard Antarctica Rwanda Guru  Consultant Specialist Section 216(4) 216(1) NR6 NR-6 NR 6 Non-Resident Real Estate tax specialist expert preparer expatriate anti money laundering money seasoning FINTRAC E677 E667 105 106 TDF-90 Reporting $10,000 cross border transactions Grand Cayman Aruba Zimbabwe South Africa Namibia help USA US Income Tax Convention. Advice on bankruptcy  e bankruptcy expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax service and help .

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