Catch Up US tax returns Refundable Child Tax Credit -

class=671055417-14102007>Dear David.

Born in Canada but because both parents were originally from USA I have dual citizenship . I only pursued this and got my passport  and social security card 13 years ago . I have lived and worked only in Canada all of my life, I understand that I need to file taxes in USA, married wife is Canuck. How much to file simple no business or rentals and  when can I get an appointment.
david ingram replies:

Please phone 604-980-0321 Monday to Friday between 10:30 AM and 4 PM and get Gillian Bryan to set up an appointment time.

As described, you are likely looking at $150.00 to $200 per year depending upon how many financial and RRSP accounts you have.

Being a US citizen is wondeful if you are going to use the citizenship for a purpose  If you were working for a multi-national company who wanted you to work on both sides of the border or if you were a performer or actor or if you were a long haul truck driver going south or an airline captain or even a taxi driver in Niagara Falls or White Rock, being a dual citizen can have a tremendous economical advantage because you get to work on both sides of the border with no restrictions.

However, as you have found, it also involves the reponsibility of filing a US return each and every year.  In fact, most people in your position have a larger responsibility to file a US return than a Canadian return.

Let me explain using 2006 Tax rates for both the US and Canada and ignoring any exchange difference between the two countries since there is little or none for 2007.

If you were a single person with a 15 year old son and an 11 year old daughter as dependents and no other deductions and you earned exactly $100,000 a year (let's forget about exchange) and your employer deducted (for 2006) $1,910.70 CPP, $729.30 EI and $26,505 income tax, you would NOT need to file a Canadian Income Tax return because you have a refund coming of $517.06 if you lived in BC.  However, because of different provincial tax rates, you would OWE $3,429.95 if you lived in Manitoba unless you bought a $10,000 RRSP in which case you would have a $910.05.00 refund)

If you bought the $10,000 RRSP in BC, you would .have a refund of $4,546.28.

Becasue you have a refund coming, under Canadian Law, you would not 'have to' file a tax retrurn unless you wanted your refund OR unless the CRA specifically wrote you and demanded a tax return be filed by you.

However, as a US citizen living in Canada (or any other country), you are in big trouble if you do not file your return.

1.   You owe the IRS $15,251 in tax because you have not filed a tax return to claim the foreign tax credits which would cancel the US tax.

2.    You are subject to a minimum penalty of $10,000 and a maximum penalty of $500,000 plus 5 years in jail for not reporting your RRSP and any bank accounts or other accounts you have signing authority over (maybe your mother's or father's or the kid's or even an account at work).

3.    A penalty of 35% of the principal plus 5% of the balance for every year you do not report the RRSP  (a foreign trust) and its internal earnings to the IRS.  If you use form 8891, you can exempt the income but the penalty is as above for not reporting it.

And if you happened to be the owner of 10% or more of a Canadian (or French or German or Indonesian or any other country) corporation, a fine of $10,000 for the first 90 days and $10,000 for every 30 days after to a max of $50,000 per corporation per shareholder per year.

As you can see, there is far far far more responsibility to file a US tax return than a Canadian return.

Another good reason.  In the example above, the US citizen single parent with two children and $100,000 of income in Canada is entitled to a $750.00 US REFUND becaus eof the US refundable Child Tax Credit which applies no matter where you live.  If your income was only $50,000, there would be a $2,000 refund.  What a good reason for filing your US returns. 

Catch up returns usually cost between $150 with no investment statements to $500 per year when there are rental houses and a lot of stock market trades and RRSP and bank account reporting.

Our quote for 2005 and 2006 for new US / Canada returns to be filed 'fresh' was $800 to $2,800.  For 2007, we are raising that to $1,000 to $3,000 because the foreign bank reporting and RRSP reporting has become so time consuming.

Catch up returns have also become more time consuming since June 20, 2007 whn we were told by the IRS that they wanted six back years pl;us the current year for people such as yourself and they wanted all the bank account reporting TDF 90 forms filed for each year as well. Up until that datre, it was our practice to just file TDF 90 forms for the last year involved.

The following disclaimer contains a more detailed set of parameters.

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 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.  expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax help
However, I regularly search for the words"PAYING CUSTOMER" and always answer them first if they did not get spammed out. As an example, as I write this on Sept 2, 2007 (the day before I turn 65), since June 16th (78 days), my 'spammed out' box has 24,417 unread messages, my deleted box has 8063 I have actually looked at and deleted and I answerd 576 email questions for clients and strangers.  I have also put aside 472 messages that I am maybe going to try and answer because they look interesting. -expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax help
Therefore, if an email is not answered in 24 to 36 hours, it is lost in space.  You can try and resend it but if important, 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. expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax help.
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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 If you forward this message, this disclaimer must be included." expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax help.
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This is not intended to be definitive but in general I am quoting $800 to $2,800 for a dual country tax return.
$800 would be one T4 slip one W2 slip one or two interest slips and you lived in one country only - no self employment or rentals or capital gains - you did not move into or out of the country in this year.
$1,000 would be the same with one rental
$1,200 would be the same with one business no rental
$1,200 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.
$1,500 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

$1,600 would be for two people with income from two countries

$2,800 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 $150.00 up.
With a Rental for $350
A Business for $350 - Rental and business likely $450
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 $800 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.
Just a guideline not etched in stone. 
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nt (as of June 20, 2007) that the TDF-90 forms have to be filed back 6 years or with every b

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