Which way would be more advantageous 1040 or 1040NR -

I have a friend who just obtained her fiancee's visa (K1) and will be moving to the US to marry her American boyfriend this fall.
For her American taxes for 2004, would it be better for her to file with her husband jointly (as married filing jointly gets the better rate) or as a non-resident and not have to bother worrying about reporting her world income and RRSP's this year?
Thank you.
david ingram replies:
She has no choice.  When she enters the US, she is becoming a non-resident of Canada and a resident of the USA.  She will be married to a US citizen within 90 days (as per the rules of the K-1).
For US purposes, it will almost certainly save US tax for them to file a joint return and report the RRSP accounts, etc.
The alternative would be for him to fie his 1040 as married filing separately and her to file a 1040NR but this would almost certainly result in more tax for them as a couple.
For Canadian purposes, she must fill in her T1161 and maybe a T1243 and T1244 as a departing Canadian resident.
The following answer to another question can / may help:
Sorry, David, 
I missed your reply!  I thought this was just the same thing we had sent you.   Thank you very much for the information and for the list of contacts as well.  If you feel comfortable with your knowledge in this area, we will likely go with you.  Could you give us a rough idea how much it would cost for you to do it:  The combined Canada, S.C. and N.C. return?
Also, as we are on a T.N. and (ultimately) I will be on a student visa with RRSP's in Canada do you think its worth pursuing non-resident status?
Thanks again,
david ingram replies:
You would be looking at $700 to $1,400 Cdn for the three returns. I realize it is a big spread but departing Canada returns require a T1161 and possibly a T1243 and T1244.
This is the form to calculate the tax on the T1161
This is the form that defers tax on the deemed disposition
Pro-rated exemptions, etc.
Take a look at the forms.
Your Canadian Accounts require TD F-90 forms and your RRSP's require special reporting as well. We would start by filing an extension for the US return - form 4868.
By non-resident status, I think you  are referring to the USA.  That would be the last thing you would want because non-residents can NOT file a joint return.  The US joint return will save you thousands.  
The first year is a toss-up.  Most people would file you as a dual status which also means no joint return.  The only way to do it is both ways.  To file the joint return in the USA the first year, we have to add in all your Canadian Income as well and claim a foreign tax credit.  This almost always results in significant US tax savings.
  -----Original Message-----
  From: David Ingram at home - bus at taxman at centa.com [mailto:davidingram at shaw.ca] 
  Sent: March 31, 2004 11:19 AM
  Subject: South Carolina after moving from Ontario - - Gary Gauvin from Rockwall and Garland Texas - ask an income tax expert experts specialist specialists
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  To: 'David Ingram at home - bus at taxman at centa.com' 
  Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2004 6:34 PM
  Subject: RE: Question misdirected
  Thanks David,
  Here it is again:
  I just found your site yesterday and I'm excited at the resources you provide. Generally we are do it yourselfer tax folks, but I think we may need your services which we can discuss later as it is pretty complex. Perhaps you could clarify something for us.
  We live in Ontario and we are in the process of selling our house. We have bought a house in South Carolina which will close in June. My wife is going to go in on a TN visa as a Physiotherapist and I will go in as her spouse. Later (in August) I will register with a student visa, so that I do not have to renew it annually like my wife will. Now my wife will actually be working in North Carolina as a physiotherapist and we will live (and I will go to school) in South Carolina.
  What are the tax implications of:
  A) buying a house in the USA (S.C.) and then selling it after 3-4 years to return to Canada.
  B) working in one state (N.C.) and living in another?
  Thanks in advance for considering our situation,
  david ingram replies;
  If you buy a South Carolina,  North Carolina. Arkansas or Georgia House and live in it, any gains will be tax free up to $500,000 ($250,000 each) if you have lived in it for 24 months out of the last 60 that you owned it.
  If you lived in Hull, Quebec and worked in downtown Ottawa, you would file a Quebec and a Canadian Federal return.
  If you live in North Carolina and commute to South Carolina, you will be filing a South and North Carolina return.  You will not pay double state taxes but you will end up paying the higher rate after exemptions, credits, deductions, etc.
  In your first year in the USA, you have the option of filing a joint tax return by reporting your Canadian Income as well.  This will save you tax.  Most preparers will suggest that you have to file a dual status return the first year and can make it a joint return. 
  Whatever you do, have this year's returns prepared by someone who does both (with experience - not at your learning expense).
  There are a lot of us around although we are hard to find.  There is a Steve (don't know his last name because I misplaced it so this is an appeal for the fellow who gave it to me to resend it) in Halifax and Gary Gauvin in Rockwall, Texas www.garygauvin.com  know what they are doing.  
  Gary was my partner in an office on Ottawa in the 80's and 90's.
  We, of course, are all happy to help you by snail mail, email, fax or courier, OR
  Answers to this and other similar  questions can be obtained free on Air every Sunday morning.
  Starting this Sunday at 9:00 AM on 600AM in Vancouver, Fred Snyder of Cartier Partners and I will be hosting an INFOMERCIAL but LIVE talk show called "ITS YOUR MONEY"
  Those outside of the Lower Mainland will be able to listen on the internet at
  This from ask an income tax immigration planning and bankruptcy expert consultant guru or preparer  from www.centa.com or www.jurock.com or www.featureweb.com. Canadian David Ingram deals daily with tax returns dealing with expatriate:
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  wizard - David Ingram's US/Canada Services
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  Calls accepted from 10 AM to 10 PM 7 days a week
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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 & the author and any and all non-contractual duties are expressly denied. All readers should obtain formal advice from a competent financial, or real estate planner or advisor & appropriately qualified legal practitioner, tax or immigration specialist in connection with personal or business affairs such as at www.centa.com. If you forward this message, this disclaimer must be included."
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