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It is very important that Canadian snowbirds don't be deemed U.S. citizens because they exceeded their stay in the United States.

You could be deemed a U.S. citizen if your stay in the U.S. exceeds "physical presence" guidelines.  You could also be held liable for worldwide taxes and have to pay income tax twice, once to Canada and once to the U.S. on the same income.

Physical Presence Calculator

This article below was published in the Forever Young Magazine August 2007 Edition.

The strong Canadian buck might encourage you to extend your stay in the U.S. this winter but be careful of deemed residency rules.

By Kelley Keehn

As a mature Canadian, just about now is when you might be contemplating a trip south during our cold winter. And this year the strong loonie makes the U.S. south more affordable for greater numbers than in many years.

But here's a word of advice - if you are thinking that the extra value of the Canadian buck might translate into a longer stay, make sure you don't fall afoul of Canadian residency rules.

The first rule for the prospective snowbird is, plan ahead as much as possible, looking around for good early-bird deals on travel health insurance and keeping your eye on relative real estate prices down south.

If you are eyeing the United States, you may be planning to move permanently or else spend long months of the year south of the border as an integral part of your retirement. But did you know that your time spent in the U.S. might cause you to be deemed a resident of the U.S. for income taxes, estate taxes or both?

Conversely, you may be deemed to no longer be a resident of Canada, and could be risking government benefits, income tax breaks, deductions, and credits. Those wanting to take advantage of lower income-tax rates in another country may find that the CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) still considers them to be residents of Canada for income-tax purposes.

And in worst-case scenario, one may be deemed to be a resident of both countries.

Deemed residency is an income-tax classification used in both Canada and the U.S. to determine whether an individual pays income tax in a particular jurisdiction on income streams.

The opportunity of double taxation exists where snowbirds are subjected to income tax in Canada and the U.S. on the same income. There are different treatments for income not just at the federal level of each country but at a provincial and state levels as well.

Certain exemptions and reductions are available to minimize unfairness to taxpayers.

The Canadian income tax system is based on residency, not citizenship. As such, Canadian residents are liable for income tax on their worldwide income. Canada only taxes non-residents on Canadian-source income. In the U.S., both citizens and residents are taxed on their worldwide income.

Canadian residents can be deemed to be U.S. residents according to the 183 day rule or "physical presence" test. To see if your residency status will be affected, use the following calculation. Add up the total number of days spent in the U.S. in the current year, one/third of the days spent in the U.S. in the previous year, and one/sixth of the days spent in the U.S. the year the year before that. If your "physical presence" in the U.S. totals 183 days or more, you will be deemed to be a U.S. resident.

A key question to ask when travelling for extended periods is whether there is an intention to leave Canada or whether there is a risk of being deemed to be a resident of the U.S.. In either case, ensure that documentation regarding such items as directives is recognized in the new domicile.  This can be problematic even if moving between provinces, let alone countries.

There are steps you can take to avoid being deemed a U.S. resident after meeting the physical-presence test. The tax and estate-planning issues are complex and based on the facts of each particular case. Use the services of a qualified financial or tax professional to help you explore the use of corporations and trusts to protect assets both in tax and estate-planning processes.

Kelley Keehn is a financial speaker, elder-planning counsellor and author. Sources for this article included the Canadian Initiative for Elder Planning Studies. See


SNOWBIRD CHECKLIST (Sources include RDC Insurance, Douglas Gray/

As an essential part of planning a trip for the winter, snowbirds should review the following matters:

Re: Travel Insurance

Does the plan cover emergency hospital and medical care, trip, cancellation or interruption coverage, and insurance for flight accident and travel accident and baggage and personal effects?

Does the plan make payments directly to hospitals and doctors at the destination point or does it reimburse the client later?

Does the plan offer a customer service claims centre?

Does it co-ordinate benefits with the provincial health plan?

Re: Other Matters

Compare various association discount plans and decide which ones will save you the most money.
For example: CARP, AARP, CAA

If you are trying the snowbird lifestyle for the first time, consider renting for the first year rather than buying a condo, mobile home, or RV.

If you're considering staying at a retirement community or in an RV or mobile home park, contact the management and get names of other residents for references. Contact them and ask them questions to ensure the place is compatible with your needs.

Review your government, employer, or personal pension plans and make arrangements to have your pension or other income, such as dividends or tax refunds, deposited directly into your bank account.

Keep an accurate record of when GIC's, term deposits, T-bills or other investments come due during your absence, so that you can make prior arrangements.

Estimate how much money you will need while you're away and how to readily access it. Check credit card and line of credit limits, and increase the amount you can take out per day on your bank card.

Make arrangements for bill payments during your absence, for example automatic withdrawals for predicable expenses such as utility bills, cable, house taxes, condo maintenance fees, quarterly income tax installments. Or arrange for someone to pay these for you. If you have access to the internet, you can make many of these payments on-line, as well as tranferring funds.

Mexican prisoners let out to kill: prosecutors
CBC News - - Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Associated Press
Guards and officials at a prison in northern Mexico let inmates out, lent them guns and let them use official vehicles to carry out drug-related killings, including the massacre of 17 people last week, prosecutors said Sunday.

Mexican attorney general spokesman Ricardo Najera, shown at a 2009 new conference, said Sunday that officials at a northern Mexican prison temporarily released inmates to carry out killings. (Alexandre Meneghini/Associated Press)After carrying out the killings the inmates would return to their cells, the attorney general's office said in a revelation that was shocking even for a country wearied by years of drug violence and corruption.

"According to witnesses, the inmates were allowed to leave with authorization of the prison director … to carry out instructions for revenge attacks using official vehicles and using guards' weapons for executions," attorney general spokesman Ricardo Najera said at a news conference.

The director of the prison in Gomez Palacio in Durango state and three other officials were placed under a form of house arrest pending further investigation. No charges have yet been filed.

Prosecutors said the prison-based hit squad is suspected in three mass shootings, including the July 18 attack on a party in the city of Torreon, which is near Gomez Palacio. In that incident, gunmen fired indiscriminately into a crowd of mainly young people in a rented hall, killing 17 people, including women.

Police found more than 120 bullet casings at the scene, and Najera said tests matched those casings to four assault rifles assigned to guards at the prison.

Similar ballistics tests linked the guns to earlier killings at two bars in Torreon, the capital of northern Coahuila state, he said. At least 16 people were killed in those attacks on Feb. 1 and May 15, local media reported.

Najera blamed the killings on disputes between rival drug cartels. "Unfortunately, the criminals also carried out cowardly killings of innocent civilians, only to return to their cells," he said.

Coahuila and neighbouring Durango are among several northern states that have seen a spike in drug-related violence that authorities attribute to a fight between the Gulf cartel and its former enforcers, known as the Zetas.

Interior Secretary Francisco Blake said the revelation "can only be seen as a wake-up call for authorities to address, once again, the state of deterioration in many local law enforcement institutions … we cannot allow this kind of thing to happen again."

Canadian Snowbird Association

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