Frequently Asked Questions

As a U.S. citizen resident in Canada, am I subject to exactly the same filing requirements that you would be subject to in the U.S.?
Answer: YES. This means you must file U.S. Form 1040 every year, reporting your worldwide income. This fact may come as a surprise to you if you have been accustomed to Canadian rules, which tax on the basis of residency rather than citizenship. The net result is that if you are a U.S. citizen resident in Canada, you must file two returns each year: a Canadian return because you live here, and a U.S. return because you are a U.S. citizen. Fortunately, this does not necessarily mean you'll have to pay taxes to both countries. There are several mechanisms available to make sure you're not doubly taxed.


What is the Earned Income Exclusion?
You may be able to exclude up to $101,300 from income for U.S. tax purposes by completing Form 2555 and attaching it to your return. Form 2555 is a special form excluding foreign earned income from taxation in the United States. To claim this exclusion you must be a bona fide resident of Canada or must have been living in Canada for at least 330 days out of the last 12 months. You must also file your return on time.



What is the Foreign Tax Credit or Deduction?
Another way to avoid double taxation is by claiming a foreign tax credit on your U.S. return for taxes you are required to pay to Canada. To claim the credit, you must complete Form 1116 and attach it to your U.S. return. Alternatively, you can claim the Canadian taxes you paid as an itemized deduction. Both the deduction and credit are limited to foreign income that is subject to U.S. tax, so neither can be claimed for income excluded on Form 2555.



What is the Filing Deadline?
If you live outside the U.S., you have an automatic extension of two months to file your U.S. tax return. In other words, your U.S. return is due on June 15 each year, rather than April 15. This provides time for you to complete your Canadian return and determine your Canadian tax liability. This is needed in case you have to claim the foreign tax credit on your U.S. return. Note that while you have until June 15 to file your US tax return if you live in Canada, the IRS will begin assessing interest on any unpaid balances on April 15th



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