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QUESTIONS ANSWERED FREE ON AIR - RRSP WIthdrawal- call on AIR Sunday, June 8th 9 to 10:30 CISLE or 5 to 6 PM CKNW on Fred Snyder

XXXX XXXXXX Lucier wrote:

Mr. Ingram

I am an expatriate, residing in the US, with no plans to return to Canada.

During my early working career in Canada, I accumulated an RRSP account.  Like many investors, I have endured a significant decline in the value of my self-directed RRSP holdings in recent months.  I remain confident that we will enjoy some level of recovery before retirement age.

I understand that if I were to collapse and withdraw the funds held in my RRSP, I will be subject to a 25% withholding.  My current thought is that this withholding fee will be least painful at the current depressed value of the RRSP.

Your thoughts / suggestions?


david ingram replies:

This is being answered six months late.  I assume you might have made a decision already.  Since the Canadian Market has improved better than the US market and the Canadian dollar has gone up more than 10 cents since you wrote this, you may be happy with your account again.

I would leave it in Canada and not withdraw unless you have a far better use for the funds.

For instance, taking it out and paying the tax and using it to build a rental suite on your house could very easily be a better use of the money.  Or buying your Florida retirement condo at today's very depressed prices in Cape Coral and renting it out in the meantime could be an even better use if you intend to retire to Florida.

That is a decision for you to make with the individual consultation that a good financial planner can do for you. 

By a good financial planner, I am talking about someone that  has your best interests in his or her thoughts and is not just selling mutual funds or just selling life insurance.

I quit recommending one particular planner when all he seemed to do was sell mutual funds to  28 people I had sent him.  Not one single person was sent to get a will or buy life insurance and not one was shown how to make their mortgage tax deductible, Buying a rental house is NOT financial Planning - Buying a mutual Fund is NOT financial Planning - Making a Will is NOT Financial Planning - Buying an RRSP or an IRA or  a 401(K)  plan is NOT Financial Planning - Putting it all together in writing with written recommendations which cover everything from Critical Care Insurance to making  your Canadian Mortgage Tax deductible IS financial Planning.

'You' can not use Fred Snyder because he is not licenced to deal with you across the border but Fred Snyder in Vancouver is such a planner (  I have sent him people and he has spent two hours convincing them that they should NOT buy an RRSP but should buy their condo and then shows them how to make their Canadian  mortgage interest tax  deductible.  Now that is a planner and you can see an interview with him at  We are also doing two radio shows on Sunday, June 8th as follows:

from 9 AM to 10:30 AM i will be Fred's Guest on CISL 650AM in Vancouver - you can listen live to the show from anywhere in the world by clicking on

The call in number is (604) 280-0650 -There is no toll free number.

From 5PM to 6 PM, I will be a peripheral guest on CKNW with Fred..  The IMPORTANT Guest is Mark St Pierre who, after 35 years in the business,  is recognized as one of Canada's major Fund Managers and advisors and one who trains fund managers.   You can see his bio at

Call (604) 280-9898 for a local call - *9898 from your cell phone and 1-877-399-9898 for a free LD call from Canada only -  If you are phoning from the USA, it is your dollar.

My year old suggested price list follows:

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.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure:  To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, please be advised that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used or relied upon, and cannot be used or relied upon, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.--

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 obtain formal advice from a competent and appropriately qualified legal practitioner or tax specialist for expert help, assistance, preparation, or consultation  in connection with personal or business affairs such as at or  If you forward this message, this disclaimer must be included." -


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