My question is: Canadian-specific

QUESTION: We have returned from living in the US for the past seven years. We want to buy a house in B.C. and would like to use our RRSP's. Can we do so without being taxed on them??

Thank you for your information.

david ingram replies;

If you have not owned a home anywhere that you lived in within the last five years, you can withdraw up to $20,000 each from your RRSP without paying tax on the up to $20,000.

If you lived in your own home in the US (or France or Spain or Indonesia, etc.,) you can not.

If you do qualify, you must either

1.   pay back one 15th each year for the next fifteen years or

2.   report one/fifteenth of the money each year as taxable income for the next fifteen years.

My recommendation is number 2 and use the money you would have paid back to pay down the non-deductible mortgage instead.

Go to and click on the November 2001 Newsletter in the top left hand box for information about how to make your Canadian Mortgage Interest deductible

The following defines the first time home buyer and is taken from the CRA's 16 page HOME BUYERS PAMPHLET  which you can find in total at:

You have to be considered a first-time home buyer

Generally, before you can withdraw funds from your RRSPs to buy or build a qualifying home, you have to meet the first-time home buyer's condition. If you are a person with a disability, or you are acquiring a home for a related person with a disability or helping such a person acquire a home, you may not have to meet this condition. Please refer to the section called "Exception to the first-time home buyer's condition".

You are not considered a first-time home buyer if, at any time during the period beginning January 1 of the fourth year before the year of the withdrawal and ending 31 days before the withdrawal, you or your spouse or common-law partner owned a home that you occupied as your principal place of residence.

If at the time of the withdrawal you have a spouse or common-law partner, it is possible that only one of you will be considered a first-time home buyer (see example 1).

Example 1
In 2004, Paul sold the home he had occupied as his principal place of residence for five years. He then moved into a rented apartment. In 2004, he met Jane and she moved in with him. Jane had been renting her own apartment, and had never owned a home.

Jane and Paul were married in August 2007. They wanted to withdraw funds from their RRSPs to participate in the HBP in September 2007. Since Paul owned and occupied his home during the period beginning January 1 of the fourth year before the year he wants to make the withdrawal, he is not considered a first-time home buyer, so he cannot participate in the HBP in 2007. Paul will be able to participate in the HBP in 2009, as he will not have owned a home that he occupied as his principal place of residence since January 1, 2005.

However, Jane is considered a first-time home buyer, since she never owned a home, and she did not live with Paul during the period in which he owned and occupied his home as his principal place of residence. She can participate in the HBP in 2007, providing all the other requirements are met.

If Jane does not participate in the HBP in either 2007 or 2008, Paul can participate in the HBP in 2009. If they want to participate together in the HBP, they both have to wait until 2009 at which time they can withdraw funds under the HBP to buy or build a qualifying home.




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.
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.


Trackback URL for this entry:

No trackback comments for this entry.