Frequently Asked Questions

Should you move investments to the US?

One of the more confusing things about relocating to the US is what to do with your investment accounts in Canada. We have put together this set of Frequently Asked Questions to help you navigate through the complexities:
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What accounts can stay in Canada?

RRSPs/RRIFs/LIRAs/LIFs/TFSAs can all remain in Canada when you move to the US but after-tax brokerage accounts will be frozen (sell only, no buying), or you will need to move those accounts to the US. Unfortunately, Canadian mutual funds cannot be transferred, they must be sold (be careful of the tax implications) and the cash transferred to the US. Beware that if the sum total of all investment accounts, bank accounts, etc. in Canada exceeds U$10,000, you will need to file FinCEN Form 114 to report these foreign accounts annually with your tax return. If the amount exceeds U$100,000, you will need to file IRS Form 8938 as well annually with your tax return.

Should I leave them in Canadian loonies?

It depends on your situation but if you plan on remaining in the US, you will need US dollars to sustain your US dollar lifestyle. Therefore, it is best to open up a US dollar account (widely available in Canada) and get all of the investments in US dollars to remove the “currency exchange risk” from your financial situation. We have seen many clients with fixed Canadian loonie pensions in Canada see their lifestyle deteriorate when the Canadian loonie dropped to 70 cents or worse.

Can I keep my Canadian Investment Manager?

It depends if your manager is licensed to do so. With your move to the US, you became a resident of the US and your investment manager is now rendering investment advice to a US resident. As a result, they need to be registered with the SEC and in the State you reside in, otherwise, they are in violation of securities regulations. The other thing to consider is having your portfolio managed by two or three different people, this can lead to duplication of asset classes, higher expenses and they likely don’t know the tax bill they are creating for you in the US with their transactions.

Can I keep my Canadian Investments?

If they are in an RRSP/RRIF/LIRA/LIF, generally yes you can but be cautious of the currency exchange risk you are introducing as outlined above. If you own any Canadian mutual funds, exchange traded funds, or other such investments in an after-tax brokerage account, you are creating a tax nightmare for yourself in the US. The IRS has a complex set of rules for “Passive Foreign Investment Corporations”.

What accounts are taxable in the US?

Per the Canada/US Tax Treaty, RRSPs/RRIFs/LIRAs/LIFs maintain their tax deferred status in the US automatically. TFSAs do not, they were just being formulated when the last Treaty was being negotiated. As a result, TFSAs are fully taxable in the US just like brokerage accounts.

Should you move investments to Canada?

One of the more confusing things about relocating to Canada is what to do with your investment accounts in the US. We have put together this set of Frequently Asked Questions to help you navigate through the complexities:
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What accounts are taxable in Canada?

Per the Canada/US Tax Treaty, 401ks/403bs/457s/IRAs/Roth IRAs maintain their tax deferred status in Canada automatically. After-tax brokerage accounts are fully taxable in Canada.

Should I leave them in US dollars?

It depends on your situation but if you plan on remaining in Canada, you will need Canadian loonies to sustain your Canadian loonie lifestyle. However, it is almost unheard of to open a Canadian loonie account here in the US so your investments in the US will likely introduce a bit of “currency exchange risk” into your financial situation. In addition, there are much better US investments available than there is in Canada because the more mature industry landscape in the US.

Can I keep my US Investment Manager?

It depends if your manager is licensed to do so. With your move to Canada, you became a resident of Canada and your investment manager is now rendering investment advice to a Canadian resident. Unfortunately, Canada does not have a national regulator like the SEC here in the US. As a result, your investment manager needs to be registered with the Provincial regulator in the Province in which you reside, otherwise, they are in violation of securities regulations. This is an arduous process to get registered, the licensing standards are higher in Canada than the US and your Investment Manager’s company books must be audited each year at a cost of U$20,000+. The other thing to consider is having your portfolio managed by two or three different people, this can lead to duplication of asset classes, higher expenses and they likely don’t know the tax bill they are creating for you in Canada with their transactions.

Can I keep my US Investments?

If they are in a 401k/403b/457/IRA/Roth IRA, generally yes but you likely cannot purchase anymore mutual funds as they are not licensed in Canada. As a result, a lot of the investment landscape here in the US is not available to fully diversify your portfolio.

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We are happy to answer any questions you may have about your particular situation. Please contact us and we will be in touch soon to schedule your no obligation consultation.

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