Expatriate Tax Issues and Strategies: The IRS Eases Reporting Requirements for RRSPs


Canadians move to the U.S. for a variety of reasons. Some Canadians are drawn to states like California, Florida and Arizona, which offer the promise of year-round warmth and sunshine; others may want to be close to family members who live in the U.S.; and others might be permanently relocated south of the border by their employers, a move which can have significant tax consequences for employees, such as being subject to departure tax or U.S. estate tax.

While moving to the U.S. is appealing to many Canadians, Canadian expats must consider their cross-border tax obligations once they are on the other side of the border. Navigating the rough terrain of expatriation tax and other cross-border taxes can be a challenge, but there is some new relief for expats who maintain RRSPs in Canada. Read the rest of this entry »

Tax Issues for American Citizens Living in Canada: Estate Tax

Blog by David A. Altro & Jonah Z. Spiegelman

The federal U.S. estate tax is an incredibly important topic for some U.S. citizens and a complete non-issue for others. As such, it is useful to understand the rules, if only to determine whether or not it is something you need to be concerned with.

The first point for every U.S. citizen to remember is that the IRS will impose an estate tax on the fair market value of all assets owned by the deceased, regardless of where they are located, and regardless of where the person lived. Just by virtue of citizenship, the IRS has jurisdiction to tax an American’s worldwide estate. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate Relocation: Managing Tax Residency Risk


In our globalized world, corporate relocation of employees between Canada and the U.S. is becoming more common. Mobilizing talent across borders is often a key strategy for companies hoping to maximize their human resources, but compliance with laws on both sides of the border can be challenging. Luckily, by considering tax and estate planning issues before an employee moves, the risks of relocation can be mitigated. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Estate Tax Debate


The U.S. estate tax continues to be debated by our neighbours to the south.

Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) shared his views on U.S. estate tax earlier this month in a Huffington Post blog. He plans to introduce legislation that will restructure the U.S. estate tax system. He suggests reducing the U.S. estate tax exemption from the current $5.34 million value to the 2009 exemption rate of $3.5 million. Any estate worth between $3.5 million and $10 million would be taxed at 40%, with the tax rate progressing to 50% for estates valued between $10 million and $50 million and 55% for estates worth more than $50 million. He aims to close estate tax loopholes and introduce a billionaire’s surtax of 10% on estates worth more than $1 billion. Read the rest of this entry »

The Benefits of Owning a U.S. Property in a Trust

Blog by Bonnie L. Altro

Holding property titled in personal names is the most common, simplest and least expensive way to go about owning US real estate. Be forewarned, however, that the issues that can arise in such an ownership structure are important ones and the consequences of not planning appropriately can be costly.

Avoiding Probate and Bypassing Guardianship Procedures

Probate is the legal procedure required to transfer legal title to children or beneficiaries upon your death. As per Florida statutes, for example, probate may cost up to approximately 3% of the value of the Florida estate upon the date of death. If a Florida property costs $200,000 USD to purchase, probate fees and expenses translate into approximately $6,000 USD. Of course, it is highly likely that the value of the property will have greatly appreciated at the time of death and that probate expenses would be significantly higher. Read the rest of this entry »

Advisor.ca – Client caught in cross-border trap


Matt C. Altro and Jonah Z. Spiegelman were recently interviewed by Dean DiSpalatro from Advisor’s Edge to analyze a case study about cross-border traps. The analysis was published in the June edition of the Advisor’s Edge magazine and also appeared online on Advisor.ca.

In the article, Matt and Jonah review what mistakes “Rob” has made as an American who has moved to Canada and what he should have done to be tax compliant in both countries among other cross-border traps that he fell into. Click here to view the article online or scroll down to read an excerpt from the piece. Read the rest of this entry »

May 2014 – Dollars and Sense Radio Show


Montreal, Quebec – May 22, 2014

On the May 22nd episode of Dollars and Sense on CJAD 800 AM, David A. Altro, Managing Partner, Florida Attorney & Canadian Legal Advisor, was joined by Matt C. Altro, Cross Border Financial Planner, Partner & COO at Altro Levy LLP and Principal & CEO at MCA Cross Border Advisors Inc.

The show featured David Altro’s and Jonah Spiegelman’s new book Americans Living in Canada – Smile, the IRS is Watching You by reviewing key topics discussed in the book. The book breaks down complicated tax laws and estate planning into four main sections: Read the rest of this entry »

The Montreal Gazette – Tax Strategy: Expert Tackles Cross-Border Queries

David A. Altro Featured in the Montreal Gazette

David A. Altro is a regular contributor to Paul Delean’s business column in the Montreal Gazette. Click here to view the article online or scroll down to read David’s answer to three reader questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Shlomi Steve Levy Interviewed on Canal Argent (April 2014)

Shlomi Steve Levy, Partner at Altro Levy LLP, was recently interviewed on the French television show Questions d’argent airing on Canal Argent. In the month of April, Shlomi was invited as a guest to the show twice to discuss the topics of the April 1st US visa lottery & alternative immigration options and why Canadians may need to file with the IRS. In the interviews many topics relating to planning strategies were explored. The interviews can be viewed by clicking play on the videos below. Note that the interview is only available in French.

Video from April 7, 2014 (US Immigration Options):

Video from April 24, 2014 (Canadians and the IRS):

April 2014 – Dollars and Sense Radio Show

CJAD April 17 2014

Montreal, Quebec – April 17, 2014

On the April 17th episode of Dollars and Sense on CJAD 800 AM, David A. Altro, Managing Partner, Florida Attorney & Canadian Legal Advisor, was joined by Matt C. Altro, Cross Border Financial Planner, Partner & COO at Altro Levy LLP and Principal & CEO at MCA Cross Border Advisors Inc.

The show focused on what Snowbirds who are returning from the sun may have done wrong while in Florida and how mistakes can be fixed. The topics discussed included: pitfalls for Canadians owning US property, US resident status, liability on rental properties, US citizenship/moving to the US and tax for Americans living in Canada. David and Matt also answered several caller questions during their monthly show. Read the rest of this entry »