Just to warn/frustrate you with more annoying stuff: any corporation wholly owned by Canadians may also be considered Canadian and may even be required to file in Canada. This is where it gets complicated, but look up this weird phrase: “Mind and Management” + Canada + corporation.
In my non-professional opinion, everything is set up so that it’s exceedingly difficult to “escape” from the clutches of the RC.
A Canadian corporation is actually reasonably attractive – at least when compared to many other jurisdictions. 15% of profits is certainly less than 30-35% that many other countries charge. In my opinion, what makes it really expensive is paying yourself as an employee: I ran a few simulations with calculators available online, using $60K USD as my “baseline” hypothetical salary, and came up with an amount that pushes the effective combined tax paid – first by the corporation and then you personally – to about 50% and even higher. But that’s only in my ridiculously overtaxed province: it may be way less in BC or AB.
But if you can figure out a way to pay yourself as a contractor plus have a few other clients on the side (I’ve heard that RC doesn’t approve of freelancers with a single client, clearly thinking that they should be employees and thus pay more in combined taxes), it’s not so bad.
The feedback I’ve heard on opening offshore corporations (never tried anything myself) is all negative. It’s useless to have a structure without a bank account and opening an account for an entity incorporated somewhere sketchy (like the Caribbean) is very difficult. Where it is possible, be prepared to prove that you’re not a nomad at all but a law-abiding citizen with tax returns, a primary residence, and a whole bunch of utility bills to prove that you live there. Also, the initial deposit requirements may be in the five-digit area. Not so nomad-friendly, is it?
As far as “cutting ties”, if you decide to go all the way (btw, I decided not to, at least for now), I spoke to a friend of mine who works for one of the “big four”… or however many are left now. She doesn’t deal with such situations personally, but she thought that the strictness of this requirement gets overblown. As long as you sell your real estate and close most bank accounts, you should be good. For the one or two accounts you prefer to keep, you can write a memo explaining why, even though you don’t expect to return to Canada, you need them. Realistically, for all the surveillance and stuff, nobody is going to track down for how many hours you spoke with your friends and family and declare on that basis that you maintain your social ties in Canada. On the other hand, you do need to declare which “other” place you’ve moved to. Supplying a new tax ID in that country may be enough to prove it. But you can’t just say I’ve moved and now I live nowhere.