US Ctzn, CA Immigrant wanting to work back in the states for 1yr -

David,   My question concerns what tax and immigration rules will/might apply to an individual in the following situation. 
            I am a US Citizen and immigrated (landed) in Canada in Jun of 2006.  During 2006 I worked 4 mths in the US, and had no CA income. In 2007, I have worked in Canada doing various odd jobs but not enough to provide for many comforts.
            My work is fairly specialized and I have been having trouble finding my type of work here in BC.
            I have recently gotten several requests to go back to the US to work and I'm considering doing this for 6mths to 1yr.
            My employer says they'll let me work 1-2 days a week off site (aka home in Canada). Btw, I'm in BC, Job is in Seattle.
            (I believe all my us income will all be in the for of W2 income)
            I have read a lot of info on your site and thru your mailings about this situation and still have a few questions on taxes and on the affect that working in the states will have on my Canadian Residency which I'd like to keep up so I can get my citizenship.
            If I start working in the States 4 days a week should I register and insure my car there ?
            Should I get a US drivers License? Will I be able to drive a US Car with my Canadian License?
            How about any problem registering my Car (that was imported into Canada) back in the states?
            (I'm considering just buying another car down there) 
            I see you have a specific charge for Cross border move in/outs, the US job definitely pays well enough to afford this.
            Are there any other expensive issues that I might run into with this work situation?
           What type of records do I need to keep if I'm going to be doing some work in Canada some in the US ?
            When I immigrated into Canada, I had to fill out forms that listed my belongings that will be brought into the country.
            I listed my furniture, appliances, car, RV and stuff like that. What should I have done about Canadian assets ?
            Should I have listed my Canadian property that I bought in the 92 on this immigration form ?
           (If I should have and didn't is there anything I can do to remedy this?)
             I read from one of your mailing about capital gains on departure that brought some questions to mind.
             "The exception is out of country property you owned before you came to Canada or out of country property you inherited while you were a resident if you were a resident of Canada for less than 60 months in the ten year period BEFORE you emigrated."
             I bought property in 91, immigrated in 2006, so I owned this property 14yrs before I moved into Canada. I don't want to give up my Canadian Residency; it was hard enough to get in the first place. 
             Will I need to fill in a departure form (T1161) at all as I'm trying to keep my CA residency? If I do, what do I do with my CA Property ?
            Fyi, I don't own any stocks or US properties, just a bit in an IRA down in the states.
            You're a great source of info and I appreciate your advise on this complicated matter.
david ingram replies:
You are not alone.  At any time, I wil have 30 to 60 people doing what you are doing to varying degrees.
You will still be a resident of Canada commuting to work in the USA.
You will keep your BC driver's licence, your BC Licence on the car, and your BC Medical.
However, if you expect to be sleeping in the US more than 183 days during the Calender year, you should write to BC medical and ask them for permission.
However, if you are going down Monday morning and coming back Wednesday night and working in Canada Thursday and Friday, BC medical will not be a problem.
The mnumber of days in Canda will be a problem for  Canadian citizenship. For citizenship purposes, you have to be able to prove physical prescence in Canada  3 out of 4 years which  translates into 1095 days (nights) out of 1,461 nights.  Therefore if you leave Canada on Monday morning and come back Wednesday night, that is only 'TWO' nights out of the week that you are not in Canada.
If you go on Monday and return on Thurday, it is only three nights out of the country and will still not affect BC medical.  If you only do it for a up to two years,  year, it will not affect your citizenship residency. If you do it more than two years, you will be getting close.
For taxes, ideally, you will pay tax to the US first on the income earned in the USA and to Canada first on the money earned in Canada.  Not particularly complicated if you keep good track of the days.  Cell phone records and credit card records are a good method.  If you buy gas as you cross the borders into the other country, the credit card record is an excellent record.
There is no departure tax because you are not departing.
One more thing.  I thought you had come to Canada in January or February 2004. As long as you were here legally, you can use 2 days to make one towards your citiszenship requirements before you got your PR card.  If you were just visiting, that does not work.  
You are not leaving the country as described and there is no need to fill out form T1161.
However, since Washington is a no inocme tax state, you CAN expect to pay another 4 to 8% or so taxes on your income when you fill in your Canadian return.
If you were in California, that would not be true.  For a single person, California and New York taxes are now more than BC taxes for the same person if there are no large special deductions in the states like mortgage interest and property and sales  taxes. However, since it is relatively easy to make Caandian mortgage interest deductible as well that advantage does not really exist with proper planning.  GOTO and read the November 2001 newsletter for information on how to make Canadian mortgage (or any other) interest deductible.
And if things get hectic and you find yourself there for 24 to 36 months, the rules are that for any 60 month period, you have to be physically in Canada for 24 months to keep your PR status alive. As described, you will find it very easy to live with that.
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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 $175.00 up.
With a Rental for $375
A Business for $375 - Rental and business likely $500
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.
Catch - up returns for the US where we use the Canadian return as a guide will be $150 to $500.00 depending upon numbers of bank accounts, RRSP's, existence of rental houses, etc.
Just a guideline not etched in stone. 
This from "ask an income trusts tax and immigration expert" from or or 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 help. 
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