Saudi Arabia Resident, US citizen,

My question is: Applicable to both US and Canada
QUESTION: I am a US citizen who is employed by the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Company. My wife is a Canadian citizen who resides with me in Saudi Arabia. We have two young children who are both US and Canadian citizens. 
We are considering buying a home in Toronto for our eventual return. Our company school system ends after 8th grade, so in two year's time, my daughter and wife will return to attend a private school for 10-12 grades. I'll remain in Saudi Arabia for another 5 years until reaching retirement. 
My question is threefold: 1) what are the Canadian/US tax implications if we purchase the home in Toronto.
2) What are the implications if we decide to purchase one now and rent it out for two years.
3) Finally, in either case what are we able to write off our taxes (US or Canadian) for expenses related to the property (maintenance, repairs, etc). For instance, I know mortgage interest is not tax deductible in Canada but is in the US. 
david ingram replies:
I am swamped and can only tell you that you are opening up a can of worms if your wife returns to Canada with your daughter. As a family, you are asking the Canadian Government to tax you on your Saudi Arabian income without any $80,000 exemption as you have in the US.
My favourite client is an American living and working in Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc.  Canadians are second but you are looking like fun.  I am one of the few people I know of who looks after the US AND the CANADIAN income tax returns at the same time (40 years experience at it).
I recommend that she does not return to Canada if you wish to avoid Canadian Income Tax.  You would find yourself in the same position as Dennis Lee (below) in the Judge Teskey Decision and David McLean (below) in his Saudi Arabia Decision.  Taxable by Canada on your world income. You would not receive the exempt treatment afforded Wolf Bergelt (also below) because your intent (as with Dennis Lee) is to come to Canada and your wife and child are here to prove it. Under Article IV (2)(a) of the US/CANADA Tax treaty, You are clearly taxable in Canada because you have a permanent home available to you and your wife and child would be here.
For the first two years, the rental house would not make you taxable in Canada in and of itself if rented on a lease to an arm's length stranger. the interest is deductible on both a T776 in Canada and your schedule E on your 1040.
Buy the house for use SEVEN years from now but consider a private school in any other country but Canada in the meantime..
When you come to live in Canada, cash in enough investments to pay cash for the house and then borrow against it to make any investments you want to make.  That way the mortgage interest is deductible in both the US and Canada.
I am available for private phone consultations at $350 Cdn per hour.  In the meantime, read the following question and answer that I answered for someone else.  It contains several tax cases dealing in part with your situation (they are rarely identical).
From:           xxxxxxxxxxx
Reply_To:     xxxxxxxxxxx
My_question_is: Canadian-specific
Subject:        tax amount
Expert:         taxman at
Date:           Wednesday April 21, 2004
Time:           11:29 AM -0700
I work in Saudi Arabia for a American oil company. When i first started over there i talked with someone at price waterhouse and was told that since i didnt own any thing in canada that i would be considered a non resident, but i have talk with someone one over there that deals with you guys and now i believe that i am not in fact a non resident and will owe for the last two years. If this is true how much would i have to pay as i have heard people say they pay anywhere from 5 to 35% of there gross. Any help you can be in this matter would be greatly appriciatted.
david ingram replies:
I do not have enough information to answer your question specifically.  Therefore, this is a generalization but includes information I have published in some 300,000+ Canadian Income Tax Guides and have had on the Internet for another dozen years without anyone refuting it.
In general, you could leave a $2,500,000 home behind in Canada, have a non-resident bank account for rent to be deposited,  and as long as it was rented out to a stranger and you did not come back to Canada for a visit for three or four years, you would not be taxable in Canada on your Saudi Arabian income.
On the other hand, if you own nothing in Canada come back every three months for a one month visit and have kept your Royal Bank Visa, your Bank of Montreal MasterCard and a Canadian AMEX card, you can expect the CRA, CCRA or Revenue Canada to take a run at you.  
If you want to remain free of Canadian Income tax, fly your lady friend to Greece for a vacation rather than visiting her in Canada.  Fly Mom and Dad to Paris and fly the kids from your first marriage to EuroDisney or visit them in Orlando without stepping foot in Canada.
Get a Barclay card, a Bank of America Card and a British or American AMEX instead of your Canadian Cards. You can keep your Canadian RRSP but do not even think of any other accounts.  If you want to have a securities account deal with Ameritrade over the internet.
The following is extracted from US/Canada Taxation at and is actually reprinted from my best selling books from 1973 to 1991 when I switched to the Internet.
So what are the rules? 
Well, to leave Canada for tax purposes, you must give up clubs, bank accounts, memberships, driving licences, provincial health care plans, family allowance payments (if you are a returning resident, you can continue to get Family Allowance out of the country), your car, and furniture. You can keep a house here as an investment and rent it out, but it must be rented on lease terms of a year or more. And you MUST have an agent sign an NR6 for you (see example). This NR6 has the Canadian Resident AGENT ** guarantee the Canadian Government that if YOU do not pay your tax to Canada, the AGENT WILL. Even after fulfilling the foregoing, the Canadian government can still tax you or "try" to tax you on your income out of the country. If you are being paid by a Canadian Company, they can quite often succeed. 
Even though you can collect family allowance out of the country, don't! One client's wife found out that she could get family allowance out of the country if she said they were coming back to Canada. She got some $3,000 of family allowance and cost the family some $80,000 in income tax when they came back to Canada from Brazil. I will never forget the husband's expression when he found out why he had been reassessed and I will never forget his wife's explanation. She said he was a skinflint and never gave her any money. The total episode cost them their house. 
** The "agent" referred to above can be a friend, relative, or a business such as ours. We charge a minimum of $40.00 per month to be an "AGENT" for an NR-6 filing. This $480 per year is "in addition" to any other fees but "well worth it" of course. It stops your mother, father, brother, next door neighbour or ex-best-friend from being plagued by paperwork they do not understand. 
It is possible to be physically "in Canada" and be treated as a Non-Resident and it is possible to be out of the country for seven years, or never have even lived in Canada, but wanted to, and be taxed as a Canadian resident as the following three cases show. In case you missed it, the reason for the different rulings is the "INTENT" of the parties involved.  Wolf Bergelt intended to leave Canada.  David MacLean was only working out of the country.  He still maintained a residence and could not ever become a resident of Saudi Arabia anyway. Dennis Lee "wanted" to live in Canada. 
In 1986, Wolf Bergelt won non-resident status before Judge Collier of the Federal Court, even though he was only out of the country for four months and his family stayed behind to sell his house. He had given up his memberships, kept only one bank account and rented an apartment in California until his house in Canada was sold. Four months after his move, his company advised him that he was being transferred back to Canada. Judge Collier said his move was a permanent (although short) move and he was a non-resident for tax purposes for those four months. 
In 1985, David MacLean lost his claim for non-residence status even though he was gone for seven years. He kept a house and investments in Canada and returned a couple of times a year to visit parents. He had even been to the Tax Office and received a letter on January 29, 1980 stating that his Canadian Employer could waive tax deductions because he was a non-resident. However, he did not advise his banks, etc. that he was a non-resident so that they would withhold tax, he did not rent his house out on a long term lease and he did not do any of the things that makes a person a "NON-RESIDENT". Judge Brule of the Tax court of Canada said that he thought Mr. MacLean had stumbled on the non-resident status by chance rather than by design. In other words, to become a non-resident of Canada, you must become a bone fide resident of another country.  As a rule, only a Muslim born in Saudi Arabia to Saudi Arabian parents can become a Saudi Arabian citizen.  The best that David MacLean can hope for is that he has a Saudi Arabian temporary work permit. 
In other words, when a person leaves a place, they usually leave and establish a new identity where they are because the "new place" is where they live now. Trying to "look" like a non-resident is not the same as "BEING" a non-resident - think about it. 
In 1989, Denis Lee won part but lost most of his claim for non-resident status. He was a British Subject who worked on offshore oil rigs. He maintained a room at his parents house in England and held a mortgage on his ex-wife's house in England. For the years 1981, 82 and 83 he did not pay income tax anywhere. in 1981 he married a Canadian and she bought a house in Canada in June of 1981. On September 13, 1981, he guaranteed her mortgage at the bank and swore an affidavit that he was "not" a non-resident of Canada. [As I have said in the capital gains section of this book, bank documents will get you every time.] During this time he had a Royal Bank account in Canada and the Caribbean but no Canadian driver's licences or club memberships, etc. 
Judge Teskey said: 
"The question of residency is one of fact and depends on the specific facts of each case. The following is a list of some of the indicia relevant in determining whether an individual is resident in Canada for Canadian income tax purposes. It should be noted that no one of any group of two or three items will in themselves establish that the individual is resident in Canada. However, a number of the following factors considered together could establish that the individual is a resident of Canada for Canadian income tax purposes": 
  a.. - past and present habits of life; 
  b.. - regularity and length of visits in the jurisdiction asserting residence; 
  c.. - ties within the jurisdiction; 
  d.. - ties elsewhere; 
  e.. - permanence or otherwise of purposes of stay; 
  f.. - ownership of a dwelling in Canada or rental of a dwelling on a long-term basis (for example, a lease of one or more years); 
  g.. - residence of spouse, children and other dependent family members in a dwelling maintained by the individual in Canada; 
  h.. - memberships with Canadian churches, or synagogues, recreational and social clubs, unions and professional organizations (left out mosques); 
  i.. - registration and maintenance of automobiles, boats and airplanes in Canada; 
  j.. - holding credit cards issued by Canadian financial institutions and other commercial entities including stores, car rental agencies, etc.; 
  k.. - local newspaper subscriptions sent to a Canadian address; 
  l.. - rental of Canadian safety deposit box or post office box; 
  m.. - subscriptions for life or general insurance including health insurance through a Canadian insurance company; 
  n.. - mailing address in Canada; 
  o.. - telephone listing in Canada; 
  p.. - stationery including business cards showing a Canadian address; 
  q.. - magazine and other periodical subscriptions sent to a Canadian address; 
  r.. - Canadian bank accounts other than a non-resident account; 
  s.. - active securities accounts with Canadian brokers; 
  t.. - Canadian drivers licence; 
  u.. - membership in a Canadian pension plan; 
  v.. - holding directorships of Canadian corporations; 
  w.. - membership in Canadian partnerships; 
  x.. - frequent visits to Canada for social or business purposes; 
  y.. - burial plot in Canada; 
  z.. - legal documentation indicating Canadian residence; 
  aa.. - filing a Canadian income tax return as a Canadian resident; 
  ab.. - ownership of a Canadian vacation property; 
  ac.. - active involvement with business activities in Canada; 
  ad.. - employment in Canada; 
  ae.. - maintenance or storage in Canada of personal belongings including clothing, furniture, family pets, etc.; 
  af.. - obtaining landed immigrant status or appropriate work permits in Canada; 
  ag.. - severing substantially all ties with former country of residence. 
"The Appellant claims that he did not want to be a resident of Canada during the years in question. Intention or free choice is an essential element in domicile, but is  entirely absent in residence." 
Even though Dennis Lee was denied residency by immigration until 1985 (his passport was stamped and limited the number of days he could stay in the country) and he did not purchase a car until 1984, or get a drivers licence until 1985, Judge Teskey ruled that he was a non-resident until September 13, 1981 (the day he guaranteed the mortgage and signed the bank guarantee) and a resident thereafter. 
My point is made. Residency for "TAX PURPOSES" has nothing to do with legal presence in the country claiming the tax. It is a question of fact. My thanks to Judge Teskey for an excellent list. The italics are mine and refer to the items which I usually see people trying to "hold on to" after they leave and are trying to become non-residents. No single item will make you a resident, but there is a point where the preponderance of "numbers" leap out and say, "He / She is a resident of Canada, no matter what he / she says."  
The case above is not unusual in any way. It is a fairly typical situation in my office. 
In 1990, John Hale was taxed as a resident on $25,000 of directors fees he had received from his Canadian Employer and on $125,000 he received for exercising a share stock option given to him when he had been a resident of Canada (the option, not the stock). Judge Rouleau of the Federal Court ruled that section 15(1) of the Great Britain / Canada Tax Convention did not protect the $125,000 as it was not "salaries, wages, and other remuneration". It was, however a benefit received by virtue of employment within the meaning of section 7(1)(b) of the act. 
Even a car you do not own can make you a resident as the next sailor found out. 
In 1988, FrederickReed was claimed by the Canadian Government as one of their own. He lived on board ship and shared an apartment with a friend in Bermuda but only occasionally. He also stayed with his parents in Canada when visiting his employer in Halifax. Judge Bonner of the Tax court ruled that he could not claim his place of employ or the ship as his residence and just because he did not have a fixed abode, did not make him a non-resident. He was also the beneficial owner of a car in Canada which even though of minor consequence, served to add to his Canadian Residency. He had in fact borrowed money from a credit union to buy the car, even though it was registered in his father's name. He had maintained his Canadian Driver's licence as well. 
An interesting case in June, 1989 involved Deborah and James Provias who left Canada in October of 1984. They had sold a multiple unit building to James' father on September 21, 1984 but the statement of adjustments did not take place until December 1, 1984. They tried to write off rental losses and a terminal loss against other income as `departing Canadians'. Judge Christie of the Tax Court ruled that they had left before the sale and were not entitled to the terminal loss or another capital loss as these could only be applied against income earned in Canada from October 13, 1984 (the day they left) to November 30, 1984 (the day before the sale) and there was no income, only a rental loss. 
But June, 1989 was a good month for Henry Hewitt. He had been a non-resident living in Libya for four years and received some back pay after returning to Canada. DNR tried to tax him on the money but Judge Mogan of the Tax Court came to the rescue. He ruled that although Canadians were usually taxable on money when received, that assumed that the money itself was taxable in Canada, which was not true in this case. 
In 1989, James Ferguson lost his claim for non-residency status but from the information, it didn't stand a chance anyway. He had been in Saudi Arabia on a series of one year contracts for four years. His wife remained employed in Canada, and he kept his house, car, driver's licence, union membership, and master plumber's licence. Judge Sarchuk ruled that he had always intended to return to Canada and was a resident. 
A similar situation involved John and Johnnie M. Eubanks in the United States. He was working on an offshore oil rig in Nigeria with a Nigerian work permit and attempted to claim non-resident status for the purposes of exempting the foreign earned income exclusion. His wife was in the United States at all times and because he worked 28 days on and 28 days off, he returned to the U.S. for his rest periods using 4 days for travel and 24 days for rest with his family. He did not spend any 330 day period (out of a year) in Nigeria and only had a residency permit for the purposes of working in Nigeria. Judge Scott ruled he was a resident of the U.S. and taxed him some $20,000 with another $6,000 penalties and interest. 
The Tax departments in Canada and the U.S. issue Interpretation Bulletins and Information Circulars and Guidance Pamphlets. These documents sometimes get people in trouble because the individual reads the good part and doesn't pay any attention to the exceptions. The following case ran contrary to a Guidance Pamphlet issued by the IRS. 
On and Off-shore Oil rigs were involved with William and Margaret Mount and Jesse and Mary Wells. William and Jesse worked in the United Arab Emirates. However, they kept their homes and families in Louisiana and kept their driver's licences in Louisiana and voted in Louisiana. No evidence was shown that they had tried to settle in The United Arab Emirates. Judge Jacobs turned down claimed exclusions of approximately $75,000 each. 
There isn't any question about what oil rig people talk about on oil rigs. It has to be "how to beat the tax man". Unfortunately, they all seem to think it is easy. Another such story follows. 
In 1989, Clarence Ritchie found out that bona fide residence means just what it says. You cannot be a non-resident of the U.S. for tax purposes if you are not a bona fide resident of another country. He was working on the Mobil Oil Pipeline in Saudi Arabia and although when he left he was married with a couple of kids, by the time he returned permanently, he was a happily divorced man. Judge Scott ruled that though he did not have an abode in the United States, he had not established one in Saudi Arabia and therefore was not entitled to the foreign earned income exclusion which requires you to be away for 330 days out of 365. He had worked a 42 days on, 21 days off schedule and usually returned to the U.S. for his days off although he did spend time in Tunisia, England, Italy and Greece. 
On a final note, as explained on page 143 of the "PINK" 17th edition of my ULTIMATE TAX BOOK, it is possible to have three countries after you for tax. If you are thinking of taking a job because a recruiter told you the money is tax free, think twice and check three times with competent individuals about what the rules "really are". No government likes giving up the right to tax its citizens. 
If you are really concerned, you should book an hour consultation with me by phone.  The charge is $350.00 Canadian.
Contact information follows:
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 
davidingram at
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 If you forward this message, this disclaimer must be included."
    Answers to this and other similar  questions can be obtained free on Air every Sunday morning.
Every 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 
Local phone calls to (604) 280-0600 - There is a provincial long distance line as well and old shows are archived at the site.
This from ask an income tax immigration planning and bankruptcy expert consultant guru or preparer  from or or Canadian David Ingram deals daily with tax returns dealing with expatriate:
multi jurisdictional cross and trans border expatriate gambling refunds for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, the United Kingdom, Kuwait, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, South Africa,  Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, Antarctica,  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, American and Canadian and Mexican and any of the 43 states with state tax returns, etc.
income tax wizard wizzard guru advisor advisors experts  specialist specialists  consultants taxmen   taxman tax woman planner planning preparer of Alaska,  Alabama,  Arkansas,  Arizona, 
 California Denver  Colorado, Connecticut,  
Delaware District of Columbia Miami  Florida, 
Garland Georgia,  Honolulu Hawaii,  Idaho,  Illinois,
  Indiana  Des Moines Iowa  Kansas  Kentucky, 
 Louisiana  Bangor Maine  Maryland  
 Boston, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota,  
Mississippi,  Missouri,  Montana,  Nebraska,  
Nevada, New Hampshire,  New Jersey, 
New Mexico,New York, North Carolina,  
North Dakota,  Ohio,  Oklahoma,  Oregon. 
Paris,  Rome, Sydney, Australia Hilton
Pennsylvania,  Rhode Island,  Rockwall, 
South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,  
Texas,  Utah, Vermont,  Virginia, 
West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, 
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, 
Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec City, 
New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, 
Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Yukon and 
Northwest and Nunavit Territories,  
Mount Vernon, Eumenclaw, Coos Bay 
and Dallas Houston Rockwall Garland 
Texas  Taxman and Tax Guru  and wizzard 
wizard - 
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...

Comments (0)

CEN-TA Cross Border Services - Tax, Visas, Immigration