Moving to the US with a spouse telecommuting back to Canada - Canadian-US-Global expert Income tax help


Hi there,
My wife and I are contemplating moving to California from Canada, and I feel strongly that I can get a solid 'offer-letter-of-employment' based on my skills.
Currently, my wife works from home typing transcripts for two different Canadian companies that do not require her to go to any 'place of employment'...her place of employment is at home in front of her computer.
She does not want to give that up and I want to know...does she have to?
I suspect she would pay income tax to the Canadian government and do some sort of U.S. reporting.
Can you help me answer my questions?

david ingram replies:

Of course, I can answer your questions -  I have included a couple of other older ones as well

Working in the USA requires a visa.

A TN visa usually requires University Degree in one of about 60 disciplines.  If you have a P.Eng in structural engineering and a job offer as a structural engineer, we can sometime have you working the next day.

H1 visa - On the other hand, if you are a sales manager for a trucking company and led the industry for five years in a row, you would need an H1 visa and they can take from 6 to 18 months.

L1 visa - Being transferred from one trucking company to another branch in the US on an L1 can take a couple of days to  4 months depending upon whether there have been many transfers before. Over 25 prior transfers makes it very easy but it has to be for the same employer or an 'either way' subsidiary or joint venture relationship AND the transferee has to have worked for the transferor for at least one full year out of the last three.

If you do go, your wife can continue to do work for the Canadian Company as long as the work she is doing is not being used in a US court.  An example.  Greg Samuels is a US Canadian Attorney who specializes in cross border traffic accidents.  If you are driving a Canadian car and have an accident in the US, or are driving a US car and have an accident in Canada, he is the one to call.

If your wife was doing transcriptions in the US to be used in a US court, that would not be right.

"However" Since she is performing all the duties in the US, she is not taxable in Canada.

She will file a schedule C with your joint or Married Filing Separately US 1040 Tax returns..

And, of course, We can answer your questions as follows:


I am currently living in Illinois.  I am about to come off of maternity leave from my Toronto company and I

intend to continue to work for them through the internet.  My US immigration has not gone through yet.  Do I
 need to wait until I have US status to work or can I start right away since I'll be working only for my Canadian
david ingram replies:

You can telecommute. You will owe tax to the US NOT Canada.

You might want to send the returns here.

 This older question should help as well

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Hi David,

I am a TN visa holder working in Seattle, and my wife is on a TD visa and she is citizen of China. We are determined as non-resident to Canada.

Can she telecommute from the US, and providing software consulting service to Canadian company? Is she allowed to work remotely while being a TD visa holder?

Does she need to file taxes to CRA?

Thank you very much.

david ingram replies:

She is not supposed to take a job away from a legal US resident.

Telecommuting to Canada does not take a US job away and should not be a problem. 

The Canadian Employer should not withhold any Canadian tax either.

She does NOT owe tax to Canada if she provides all her services from the USA.

She will / does owe tax to the US on the earnings and it should be reported on a schedule C on your joint 1040 US tax return.

She will also owe FICA (Social security tax) and should. send in form SE as well.

Hope this helps

If your question was not answered fully or you wish to go further, I am available for individual consultations by phone or email or in person for $450 per professional hour. 

Please also note that we prepare Canadian, US, Australian, UK and New Zealand returns on a mail in, email, fax, snail mail or couriered basis. At any time, our clients are in 40 countries or more.  They have every occupation from nuclear Submarine captains to FedEx pilots to Major Bank officers to Politicians, Diplomats and border patrol officers.  My favourite, however, is a penguin catcher in Antarctica among others there..

If you 'really' only have a single question requiring a 'couple' of minutes, you can try phoning me for free as part of the following.

- For a quick free question

Most Wednesday evenings, from 6 to 9 PM Vancouver (Pacific - LA, Seattle) time, I interview others and answer short US Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Indonesia,  Mexico, etc.  tax and immigration questions.  GOTO - the North American phone number is (866) 980-0499 - the local number in the lower mainland is (604) 980-0321.

There is no January 6, 2010 show but Jan 13th has Roger McAfee on to talk about the Justice System in Canada and Dan Walkow ( to talk about US Canada Cross border Investing and Fred Snyder ( on to talk about Investing in BC and in particular the importance of a written Financial Plan.


You might try calling Fred Snyder's own radio program for an answer. 

Fred Snyder's  "IT'S YOUR MONEY" radio show. on CISL,  650 AM on the dial in Vancouver from 9 to 11:00 AM every Sunday  (604) 280-0650 or (877) 280-0650 - You can listen live from anywhere in the world at from anywhere in the world. click on the button in the top left hand corner.
You might try calling Fred Snyder's weekly radio programs for an answer. 

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