The EB-5 Green Card: A Canadian’s Ticket to Retirement in the U.S.?

This is the time of year when Canadians snowbirds who have been seeking refuge in the U.S. from the Canadian winters start counting the days.

“When did we leave Canada exactly? Was it November 15, honey? How many days have we been gone?”

The magic number is 182. If you are a Canadian and you spend more than your allotted amount of days in the U.S. per year, you may be subject to U.S. income tax on your worldwide income. Beware, Canada will still consider you a resident which may lead to double taxation on your annual income.

For most Canadian snowbirds, half a year is just fine. They go back and forth to the sunbelt states each year using up their days and they do not have tax issues given that they file the Closer Connection Exception Form 8840. For others, 182 days is not nearly enough. They may have a dream to retire in the warmer climate or they want to spend more time with their adult children / grandchildren who are living in the U.S. Some Canadians want to move their business to Florida or Arizona and want to have the right to work in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

David A. Altro featured in the April 2010 edition of STEP Journal

The Canadian Way: David Altro discusses new tax issues relating to Canadians owning US real estate.

This article will look at the various tax and estate planning issues facing Canadians with special emphasis on the major impact of changes in the US estate tax rules under the US Internal Revenue Code (the Code) affecting Canadians. As of 1 January 2010, a Canadian owning US assets upon death in 2010 will not be subject to any US estate tax. ‘US assets’ for Canadian residents include US real estate and shares of stock of US corporations held personally.1

The gift tax rate drops from 45 per cent to 35 per cent. Beneficiaries no longer enjoy a step-up in the basis at death. Instead, the beneficiaries’ basis in inherited property equals the lesser of the decedent’s basis or the fair market value of the property on the decedent’s date of death. Read the rest of this entry »

Radio Show – April 22, 2010

Montreal, Quebec – April 22, 2010

  • April 22, 2010

    On the April 22, 2010 edition of “Dollars and Sense”, David and Matt discussed cross border tax and estate planning issues such as: What should happen if I pass away owning U.S. property? and, Will there be U.S. estate tax?
    Also on the agenda was a discussion on strategies for Canadians who plan on moving to the U.S.

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Florida Homes Magazine – Toronto

· Brampton, Ontario – May 4, 2010
· Toronto, Ontario – May 5, 2010

Invited by Florida Homes Magazine, David A. Altro will be the guest speaker at their “Investing in Florida Real Estate and Beyond” seminar.

The Brampton seminar will held on May 4, 2010 from 6:30pm-9pm at the:

Lion Head Golf & Country Club
8525 Mississauga Road
Brampton, Ontario
L6Y 0C1

The Toronto Seminar will be held on May 5, 2010 from 6:30pm-9pm at the:

Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport
33 Carlson Court
Toronto, Ontario
M9W 6H5

See all seminars.

Redefining the Image of a Law Firm

What comes to mind when you think of a law firm? Take a second, close your eyes and envision it.

What do you see? Men in suits? Phones ringing off the hook? Associates diligently drafting letters?

While all of those pictures may in fact be accurate, there is a completely different side of the modern law firm that is often overlooked, and that is the technical one.

Technology is changing the face of the law firm as we know it. Being a boutique firm, we pride ourselves on using technology to our advantage to help carve out a niche. Whether it be through videoconferencing or embracing social media, new technologies are changing the way we interact and do business and we are proud to be a part of it.

You may be thinking “that’s great and all, but what’s the point of this?” Here it is. Yesterday I received my Ipad in the mail (for those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about, this should help bring you up to speed ). In this device I see the potential to change the way we do business. Here are a few potential changes I see the Ipad bringing about in our firm.

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Altro & Associates Get in the Game by Giving Back

Chaired by Altro & Associates own Chief Operating Officer Matthew Altro, Squash Crohn’s is a charity squash tournament benefiting Crohn’s and Colitis research. Back for it’s 3rd straight year, this year’s event will be held on Saturday, May 15 and will once again be taking place at Club CDL.

For the second year in a row, Altro & Associates returns as the championship court sponsor. This year, the firm will field two participants, with David Altro and Matt Altro playing in the event.

In order to raise money for the cause, David Altro has chosen to ask for donations in lieu of payment for his book Owning U.S. Property – The Canadian Way . If you are interested in obtaining a copy, please click here.

In its first two years, the event has raised almost $40,000, which has been distributed to various IBD research and care projects. This year, we have teamed up with The Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation so that we can provide funds to the very important area of Pediatric IBD research and care.

If you are interested in playing in the tournament, or sponsoring a player please visit the Squash Crohn’s 2010 website.

What Happens When a Canadian Sells U.S. Property? Part 2

As promised, here’s the second half of one of my favorite chapters of my book,
Owning U.S. Property- The Canadian Way – Chapter 10: Selling Your U.S. Vacation Home. Click here to read
Part 1.

Chapter 10: Selling Your U.S. Vacation Home – Part 2

By David A. Altro.

Declaring the Gain to Canada Revenue Agency

A Canadian resident is obligated to declare her worldwide gains or losses wherever they may occur. Accordingly, the above sale must be reported on the Canadian income tax return of the Canadian resident/seller.
Here’s how it works: You file your Canadian income tax return, all the U.S. numbers are the same – although converted to Canadian dollars.

Is there a Credit in Canada for the U.S. Tax Paid?

There may be a foreign tax credit available to reduce your Canadian capital gain tax by the amount of the capital gain tax paid to the U.S. This could be achieved by applying the U.S./Canada Tax Treaty. However, you are out of luck if your property is in a standard U.S. revocable trust or a standard U.S. living trust, since the Canadian Income Tax
Act will not allow for the credit in such case. But should you have the title to the property in your Cross-Border TrustSM
or individually, you will qualify for a foreign tax credit so that the $52,500 paid to the IRS as a capital gain tax will be a full credit against the Canadian capital gain tax of $66,500 minus the $52,500 for a total combined capital tax of $66,500 (unless further reduced by the currency exchange loss).

If you, as the seller, reside in Alberta, the capital gain tax rate is a maximum of 19.5% of the net gain. In Quebec, the maximum taxable gain would be 24%, and in Ontario it is 23%. (Must be nice to live in the oil patch!)

Read the rest of this entry »

David A. Altro Interviewed on CBC’s The Lang and O’Leary Exchange

David A. Altro was interviewed by Amanda Lang and Kevin O’Leary live on CBC’s national talk show, David A. Altro Interviewed on The Lang and O'Leary ExchangeThe Lang and O’Leary Exchange, on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011.

David discussed the demand for U.S. property by Canadians due to the market trends of low property prices and the high Canadian dollar.

He warned viewers of the potential pitfalls for Canadians buying property in the U.S. such as owning the property in the wrong structure or title, U.S. estate tax and probate procedure.

He also explained the upcoming changes to the U.S. tax laws and various tax rates and how a Cross Border Trust can help to reduce tax exposure and avoid double taxation.

Click here to watch the program. Fast forward to 47 minutes into the program to watch David’s interview.

David A. Altro featured in the April 5, 2010 edition of the Montreal Gazette

Several things for non-residents to consider when buying property

Download the article here (PDF) , or read it below.

The Gazette

Monday, April 5, 2010

Real-estate purchases by non-residents and RRSP liquidations were among the topics raised in the latest batch of reader letters. Here’s what they wanted to know.

Q: My father (not a Canadian resident) wants to buy a rental property in Montreal. We are discussing what the best approach would be. Should he buy it as a foreign investor or give me the money (as a gift) to buy it? I will inherit it when he dies.

A: Nick Moraitis, partner at accounting firm Fuller Landau, says there is no clear-cut answer and several things to consider. For instance, if the father gifts the cash, might there be “gift tax” in his home country? And how do tax rates in the two countries compare, or the tax brackets of father and son; that could make it more advantageous for one or the other to be reporting the annual rental income. There are compliance rules, too, and withholding taxes for non-residents who get rental income in Canada or sell a building. If the father died while still owning the property, any capital gain in Canada would be taxable to his estate. While there would be no tax in Canada if the cash was gifted, it’s important that any transfer be documented properly, Moraitis noted. If the father is the owner, the will should specify who will inherit the building and who is responsible for any taxes on death. “The father may want to do a will in Canada to deal strictly with the building and any assets in Canada,” Moraitis said.

Q: Are there any consequences to a Canadian owning a condo in Florida on future estate taxes? I heard that having the condo in the estate opens the entire estate to U.S. taxes. Any truth to this, and if so, how does one protect the estate?

A: Attorney David Altro, whose firm works in both jurisdictions, said owning a property in Florida does not open the entire estate to U.S. taxes for a Canadian resident and citizen who is not a U.S. citizen as well. “However, the Florida condo may give rise to U.S. estate tax upon death where you pass away after 2010, should the value of such property exceed $60,000 and your worldwide estate exceed $1 million, unless you purchased the condo in a tax-planned cross-border trust,” he said.
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