Binational couple - international non-resident cross border income tax help estate family trust assistance expert preparation &a

Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 7:30 PM
To: taxman at
Subject: Binational couple
Hi David,
Although the issue of Binational couples has been
touched on before on your list, I've read conflicting
answers to the same basic situation, which is this: a
U.S. citizen/resident marries a dual U.S./Canadian
citizen.  The American has a home in the U.S.
(principal residence), the dual has a home in
Canada (principal residence).  In order to be allowed
permanent access to the spouse's Canadian home (in
case he ever decides to move to Canada sometime in the
future), the American gets PR status in Canada, but
does NOT change his residence from the U.S. to Canada
(still owns U.S. home, U.S. job, U.S. health
coverage...nothing in Canada).  American only visits
spouse's Canadian home on weekends.  Canadian visits
spouse's U.S. home several days thru the week (thus
keeping American's PR status alive).   So, the
question is this: does the American have any tax
obligation to Canada just by marrying a Canadian and
visiting for two or three days a week?
david ingram replies:
In the example given, The American is NOT a taxable resident of Canada.
Article IV(2)(d) of the tax treaty ultimately defaults to citizenship.
To enforce the issue, she should make sure that she spends a couple of
weekends in the US as well and they should take a nice American holiday.
If her residence is in Ontario, she only has to be in Ontario i.e. sleep in
Ontario 153 nights to keep her Canadian medical alive.  If she is living in
any other province, she has to sleep in her home province more than 183
nights to keep the provincial medical alive.
The reason I make the point about "sleep" is that I have known literally
dozens of people who have had their BC Medical cancelled because they sleep
in their US home at night even though they are physically at work in BC 220
days a year and here most weekends for shopping, theatre, visiting, etc.
I am referring in particular to residents of Point Roberts who only sleep
there but spend their working time and most shopping time in Canada.
Hubby, in the case described, should be sure that he does NOT possess:
Canadian Driver's licence,
Canadian Resident Bank Account
Canadian video store card
Canadian Golf club membership
Canadian fitness gym membership
Canadian registered car.
He can NOT drive his wife's car in the USA unless she or another Canadian
resident is in it AND
She can NOT drive his US car in Canada unless he or another US resident is
in it.
The above rules about cars can be solved by paying the duty to import his
car to Canada (does NOT need to be registered in Canada) and the duty to
import her car to the US and again, her car does NOT need to be registered
in the US.
It is the best of both worlds because you get to file a joint US return and
do not pay tax in Canada.  Your wife is an American and her income goes on
the US return which she has to file anyway but you get to claim a foreign
tax credit for the tax paid to Canada.
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)
email to taxman at <mailto:taxman 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 and the author and any
and all non-contractual duties are expressly denied. All readers should obta
in formal advice from a competent and appropriately qualified legal
practitioner or tax specialist for expert help, assistance, preparation, or
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