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Move to Canada?
Old 03-25-2008, 10:23 AM   #41
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Move to Canada?

We've considered moving to Canada (from US) when we retire. Anyone else considered that or have done that, instead of Europe? Wondered if there are websites that anyone could recommend as resources for issues like tax implications, etc. of moving. Thanks all...interesting thread!
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Canada?
Old 03-25-2008, 11:09 PM   #42
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Canada?

Hi "itsmyparty",
Your desire to retire in Canada is the same as mine, but I have some real concerns about being there all the time. I've asked about this at customs in Canada, and inquired on-line. Here is what I want to do, and also what I am only able to do.

As an American, when you enter Canada, you are only allowed to remain there for 6 months each year for tax purposes. That means that you may not work (but why would you if you are retired), and you will not pay Canadian taxes. If you stay beyond the 6 months for any year, you become a resident for tax purposes. I was lead to believe that you can ONLY remain in Canada for 6 months each year. That's not true. After being in Canada for 6 month, you can leave and re-enter right away, and stay another 6 months. You can literally stay as long as you want, but then you have to declare yourself a resident for tax purposes and pay rather hefty taxes. You don't get the health care or anything like that, but if you have retirement income, that's taxed. I believe that would eliminate having to pay US taxes, but you'll have to see an accountant about that.

Again, I've inquired at the border and airport cuustoms about this. I have this strong inclination to do things right, and in spite of the fact that you can drive across the border and not have your passport stamped means that the authorities don't really know whether you are there for 6 months or not.

My personal plan in my "semi-retirement" is to spend half the year in Canada (Quebec) with very close friends from overseas and the other half in a warmer part of the US like Texas, where I'd like to buy a little townhouse. I'm not sure if I'd enjoy the cold Canadian winters, but I do totally love the Canadian lifestyle.

It'll be interesting to hear what you decide. Best of luck to you.

Regards,
Rob
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Affluence and the expat
Old 03-26-2008, 04:34 AM   #43
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Affluence and the expat

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Originally Posted by BunsGettingFirm View Post
Hm...I haven't thought much about this last part. In the US, I'd be middle-class affluent at best, and judging by the crappy van I drive, most people assume I'm a graduate student.

I'm thinking that "facing the populace as a wealthy man" implies more unpleasantness than pleasantness.
Actually, I'm just writing about this topic for my blog. I wouldn't call it unpleasant, just somewhat uncomfortable at times. If you have good ties with the community, people get used to you even though they may often bring up your "wealth".

I know some expats here in Bali who hide themselves away because of this issue and it's probably the worst thing you can do because, like in most small places, people gossip and if you're perceived as standoffish, when you need some help, you'll be hardpressed to find it.
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Old 03-26-2008, 01:58 PM   #44
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Can't hurt to have a residence visa, if you can qualify, it might be a better option as you will most likely qualify for health care...etccc.

Immigrating to Canada: Skilled workers and professionals
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Canada
Old 03-26-2008, 02:25 PM   #45
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Canada

Billman,
Canada does not give residence visas. If they did, you'd have a lot of people living there. Canada used to give retirement visas years ago. The only way to live there long term is to migrate there and show that you have a skill of use to Canada. I've asked at immigration, and at 61, it's a bit too old to be getting work visa to migrate. I'm happy to be living there for the warmer months NOT working.

As for the health coverage, I have a great policy now, and in 4 more years I'll get Medicare. I'm fine with that.

Cheers,
Rob
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Move to Canada info
Old 03-27-2008, 11:54 AM   #46
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Move to Canada info

Hello again, Rob and everyone. I hope someone who has actually moved to Canada from US can join us and give us some real life experience. For me - I do have dual citizenship, but have been in the US for a long time now - visiting family and vacationing there at least annually. I'm wondering about the tax situation too - I think if you move there to work, there is a reciprocity agreement between the two gov'ts that taxes are paid where one works, but you must still annually file a US tax return. However, if you don't 'earn' a living, but live off of SS or portfolio - that's where its cloudy and maybe where the CDN gov't changed...so that they tax that now as well as US taxing unearned income - without a reciprocity agreement. As far as medical...probably I could qualify for Canada's medical system, but I do have a medical plan that pays for care outside of US. If one is on medicare...don't think they do. That will be a few years for us...when it will become our secondary insurance. Its all very complicated and my DH is still working....so haven't gotten serious enough over this to hire a laywer or immigration specialist. Hoping someone with true life experience with this (and there are lots of US citizens retired in Canada) who could shed some light on this. Love this discussion! PS - my choice of location is in British Columbia.
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What I hear about living in Canada
Old 03-27-2008, 11:46 PM   #47
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What I hear about living in Canada

Hi again-
All I know is I've called immigration and a couple tax lawyers in Canada, and this is what they tell me. I can stay in Canada up to 6 months/year as a tourist and not pay taxes. I have close friends, almost family, where I can stay. Of course, if you are citizen of Canada and own property, I'm not sure. My plan is to enjoy the very beautiful countryside of Canada for 6 months out of the year, and spend the other 6 months either in my soon to be purchased condo in Texas, where I can teach part-time, or teach overseas for short periods of time.

I think my situation is unique, because the housing is with friends in Canada. However, I'm not a very cold weather person and want that option of spending at least part of the year in good old San Antonio, Texas.

Regards,
Rob
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Old 05-06-2008, 03:40 AM   #48
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Rob,

If you have a skill in demand (e.g., chemical or mechanical engineering in particular, but there are others) you can get a work permit for Canada. The trick is getting the job offer first, but not too hard in Alberta.

By the way, I am 60 and have been working in Canada for several years as an engineer on a work permit. Considering getting a Permanent Residency, but I don't think I would retire here. The winters are strong, but I like them. The health care available here is, in my opinion, marginal and patchy. Taxes are a bit high, too.
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:05 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Rob View Post
I can stay in Canada up to 6 months/year as a tourist and not pay taxes.
I stay in Mexico for 6 months. In the past 4 years of retirement, I have paid 4.25% of my income in taxes in Canada. Being retired is one way to avoid taxes there.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:29 AM   #50
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gosh yeah. I agree with bpp3. At least Italy seems much safer.
Italy is suppose to offer retirement visas if you can demonstrate retirement income.

But if your retirement income is in US accounts, you'd pay taxes both to the US and to Italy?

And no guarantee of health care coverage in Italy?


IFI sounds good but is it 100% coverage after the deductible? The $1.8 annual coverage is interesting. A lot of US insurance plans have a lifetime cap of $1-2 million. One major illness can eat up that cap.


One country not discussed in this thread is the UK, which reportedly doesn't tax foreign sources of income? So you have a lot of Russians and Arabs living in London?

Of course, the expensive cost of living in London makes it unsuitable for a lot of retirees.
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Old 05-14-2008, 08:04 AM   #51
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Billman,
Canada does not give residence visas. If they did, you'd have a lot of people living there. Canada used to give retirement visas years ago. The only way to live there long term is to migrate there and show that you have a skill of use to Canada. I've asked at immigration, and at 61, it's a bit too old to be getting work visa to migrate. I'm happy to be living there for the warmer months NOT working.

As for the health coverage, I have a great policy now, and in 4 more years I'll get Medicare. I'm fine with that.

Cheers,
Rob
Montreal is beautiful during the summer. I used my AC exactly twice for 3 hours each the last summer. I could have ditched the AC entirely, and I eventually did. The streets are filled with sidewalk cafes. They are perfect for lazying away an afternoon watching people.
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Old 05-15-2008, 02:17 AM   #52
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I am considering PERMANENTLY leaving the USA and moving overseas when I retire. Please tell me how you deal with these basic itmes ... a) mail - how do you continue to safely get US mail overseas b) money - if you keep your money in US mutual funds, how do you access them? ... get Social Security checks .... pay taxes ... overseas? c) medical - how do you pay for medical? Use US medicade (or similar) d) US citizenship - do you have to travel back to the US each year to maintain it? e) anything else?
It's all very easy these days, assuming you're in a developed country anyway.

a) Mail forwarding service. I use a reputable company out of Florida (my last U.S. home state) and they provide me with a physical Florida mailing address as well. This is helpful if I ever want to order something from the States, I can have it sent to my mail forwarding company and they can then ship it to me.

b) Money these days is easy. I moved most all my assets overseas with me, but maintain a stash in a money market account in a large US bank. I can wire that money to my local European bank if I ever need to.

Taxes are just a little bit bigger pain than normal, but not too bad. Just set aside one full day and knock it out. This year I did my US taxes like usual, on paper, and mailed them from Europe via registered mail (with a tracking number). The made it with no problems.

My local taxes are much easier due to the system they have set up here and only takes about 15 minutes to complete. It's all done online and most of the required information is already provided by the banks, employers, investment companies, etc. You just review to ensure accuracy and add anything not automatically entered and click Send.

c) As I obtained citizenship in my new country my medical is covered at home and while traveling throughout the EU. Many countries will let you buy into their national health insurance though so that's a possible route. Or depending where you live, treatment for most things may be reasonable and you can pay cash as you go.

You need to be very careful here though cause if you drop your US insurance you may have a hard time ever getting it again if you change your mind and move back to the US after some time. But if you truly plan to move overseas permanently, then who cares.

d) You won't lose it. It's even hard to get rid of it when you want to.

e) Get a Skype account and buy a US phone number through them so your family and friends don't have to pay international rates to call you.

I also recommend you speak the language of your new adopted country at least at a conversational level before you go or you'll be resigned to hanging out with other expats and/or feeling alienated from your local community. This is a common complaint amongst expats and a major reason people fail to adapt and return to the States.
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