Point Roberts

I got your email from the internet.  Hope you don't mind me asking you a question.
What is the 180 day rule for Canadians buying in Point Roberts?  Does that mean you can only stay 180 days per year?  or does it mean you can only stay continuously for 180 days without leaving?
My plans are to buy land and build.  Point Roberts has obvious advantages.  Just want to know the disadvantages.
thanks for your help
david ingram replies:
There is no 180 day rule that I know of.
There are two 183 day rules in the US and the same thing essentially applies to BC and all provinces except Ontario and the Federal Governemnt.
If you are out of Ontario for more than 153 days or any other province or territory, your BC medical is canceled unless you have specifically written to the BC Medical Plan and asked for permission to be out of the province for more than 183 days.  This would apply if you had gone to Alberta, Nova Scotia or Thailand as well.  It has nothing to do with the United States.  
Federally in Canada, you have to estableish a residence in another country to escape Canada's taxation of your 12 month income from anywhere in the world.  So, if you moved to the US or Thailand or Germany, etc, and were there more than 183 days, you would not owe tax to Canada on your non-Canadian (out of country) income if you had moved to the other geo-political jurisdiction.
US Federal Tax
If you are in the US for more than 183 days in any one year as a legal or illegal worker or a legal or illegal visitor, you owe the US tax on your world income.  If you are there fore more than 183 days made up of a 3 year period, you owe the US tax on your world wide income unless the filing of IRS form 8440 ( http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8840.pdf ) shows you have a closer connection to another country.
The substantial presence test takes the number of days you  are in the US in the current year and adds 1/3rd of the days from the year before and 1/6th of the days from two years before and if that adds up to more than 183, you must either file a 1040 and report your world wide income or file form 8840 and a 1040NR to state that your closer connection is to another country. Go to www.centa.com and read the April 1994 newsletter in the top left hand corner to see more examples.
The Canadian CRA also has a good pamphlet (the concept of which the department admitted had been taken form my 1994 newsletter in 1997) called "Canadians Residents Going Down South" which you can read at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/p151/p151-e.html
US Immigration 
When you go across the border, the 'guard' asks who you are, wherre you are going, how long, etc.  He or she then authorizes you (or not) to be in the US for the period you have described.  If you are driving a $400,000 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible, you are NOT likely going to be asked to prove you havce enough money for three weeks but if you are driving a rusted out 1970 Toyota Tercel or hitchhiking or on a Greyhound,  you can expect that they might ask  you to prove you have the financial resources to support yourself.  (When that happened to one client I had, she ended up proving she was really an American citizen and ended up with a demand for ten years of US tax returns).  
As a rule, the guard will admit you for a period of a few hours or a few days.  If yo9u say you want to stay for three months or six months, there will be a whole lot more questions.  For instance, you may be a snowbird who owns a condo in Hawaii and go to Hawaii from Nov 1 to March 31st. That keeps your Canadian Medical alive and means that you are in the US for five months which the officer can authorize.  If you then wanted to go back for July and August, that would be a legal visit under immigration rules but you would now have exceeded 183 days (meaning you can not file form 8840) for income tax purposes. 
No problem, the April 1994 newsletter addresses this better than the CRA's pamphlet.
The following gives more rules for working on the unit or renting it out.  If you are just building for your own use, you and any other owner of the property can work on it.  However, if you are building for your own use, your firend, sister, brother, adult child, or any other Canadian without a working visa for that project can NOT work on it.
These older questions will help. 
xxxxxx wrote: 
  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,
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 at 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 
or how about a married woman's ordeal in Georgia for a traffic violation  at
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 at 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.
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:
4466 Prospect Road
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.
 email to taxman at centa.com
www.centa.com www.david-ingram.com
pert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service and help.
David Ingram gives expert income tax service & immigration help to non-resident Americans & Canadians from New York to California to Mexico  family, estate, income trust trusts Cross border, dual citizen - out of country investments are all handled with competence & authority.
Phone consultations are $450 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. ($472.50 with GST for in person or if you are on the telephone 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 $3,000 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.
$1,200 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
$3,000 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. However, if you have a stack of 1099, or T3 or T4A or T5 or K1 reporting forms, expect to pay an average of $10.00 each with up to $50.00 for a K1 or T5013 or T5008 or T101 --- Income trusts with amounts in box 42 are an even larger problem and will be more expensive. - i.e. 20 information slips will be at least $350.00 
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 from $150 to $600.00 per year depending upon numbers of bank accounts, RRSP's, existence of rental houses, self employment, etc. Note that these returns tend to be informational rather than taxable.  In fact, if there are children involved, we usually get refunds of $1,000 per child per year for 3 years.  We have done several catch-ups where the client has received as much as $6,000 back for an $1,800 bill and one recently with 6 children is resulting in over $12,000 refund.  
Email and Faxed information is convenient for the sender but very time consuming and hard to keep track of when they come in multiple files.  As of May 1, 2008, we will charge or be charging a surcharge for information that comes in more than two files.  It can take us a valuable hour or more  to try and put together the file when someone sends 10 emails or 15 attachments, etc. We had one return with over 50 faxes and emails for instance.  
This is a guideline not etched in stone.  If you do your own TDF-90 forms, it is to your advantage. However, if we put them in the first year, the computer carries them forward beautifully.
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