Anyone know an accountant for Canadian nomads/expats?

Hey guys, this was my first year as a Canadian nomad.

As far as I know of, Canadians don’t pay taxes if they do not live in the country for 6 months.

But I’d like to talk to an accountant or someone who does Canadian taxes specifically for expats and nomads to get clear on the rules and for help on my return coming up.

Does anyone know someone who specializes in Canada who can help? I’ve seen plenty of US recommendations but none for us canucks.

Thanks guys!

I am Canadian as well. I am no tax expert, but my understanding is that to get out of the obligation to pay taxes in Canada you have to take very drastic steps:

  1. Cut all your ties to Canada. Close bank accounts, cancel your credit cards, sell any property, etc. Obviously, forgo your provincial health insurance. Also, promise to RC that you really do not expect to live in Canada in the foreseeable future. If you don’t do that, they’ll consider your move temporary. They even say you have to cut most of your social ties, but that just sounds incredibly intrusive and, in any case, unverifiable (although a spouse living in Canada will probably scupper the whole deal).

  2. Establish residence (+ tax residence) elsewhere and be able to provide proof of it (lease, bank account, voter card, tax payer ID, etc).

Unless you are ready to do 1 + 2, I think you’re on the hook, even if you don’t show up in your home country for years. Sorry to disappoint you! If “leaving” was as easy as spending 6 months elsewhere, I think we’d have a huge number of Canadians roaming the world.

Thanks for the reply @bisonravi.

I didn’t think it was that complicated but I’m searching for an accountant still to give me the 411.

I’ll post any info I find out.

@noam_lightsone It’s rather complicated. It’s not simply being outside the country for six months, but an evaluation your ties with Canada. This involves property, automobiles, bank accounts, investments, and the list goes on by the CRA. This is a good resource that will get you started: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/nnrsdnts/cmmn/rsdncy-eng.html

As for finding an accountant, I suggest you start looking in the Freshbooks database: https://www.freshbooks.com/accountants/map

My advice is to find an accountant who is very familiar with Canadians living abroad; otherwise, it can become very frustrating for future tax submissions in Canada.

It’s mostly complicated in Canada because the country has a very draconian tax system that essentially is stacked in the government’s favour. They can look at your situation and try to claim whatever is to their benefit. Since the rules for many issues are subjective and can go either way based on what a judge might rule, it creates great stress and waste of time on nomads. I don’t like these kinds of systems. Also, Canada is one of the few countries that has a departure tax. So even if you become a nomad and break all ties, you are “deemed” to have sold all your investments and even your own private business. This is even though no money has changed hands and no sale occurred. You then have to post money to them just to leave which as far as I can determine you might never get back since one might never sell one’s business - would you sell a profitable business just to get your cash back and then lose all future cash-flows? Essentially the country runs a very protective and isolated system that tries to make it difficult, time consuming, and stressful to get out of it. This is one of my major considerations when choosing a residence, how friendly is the country during my stay and how friendly is it should I choose to move somewhere else?

Thanks for the info @adamsimms and @blueblueocean. Still searching for accountants but will again, post here.

From what I’ve heard it’s so grey and impossible to state clearly - it’s all case by case.

Hey @noam_lightstone - fellow Canadian here - I’m working in Malaysia for a company and am contacting an accountant back home in BC in the next couple months who may be useful - I’ll keep you posted :smile:

Thanks @krysta! I’m supposed to talk with my Canadian nomad friend’s accountant this or next week so I’ll post my findings too!

Hey guys just wanted to update.

After taking to an accountant, the answer is “it depends”. You pretty much need to work with them and see if you’d be able to claim non-residency based on factors like time outside of country, spouse/kids there, etc.etc.

So I’d say try to find someone who can help you but if you’re single and mostly living outside Canada, you’ll most likely be able to be tax-free.

So how does one go about finding a Canadian accountant versed in this type of issues?

Hook-ups is one way (my friend sent me his, but wouldn’t be cool with me sharing everywhere so I’m not posting public info).

I did a search for accountants + expat + canada on Google and e-mailed a bunch. I got 10 responses back. They want to help you (/take your money lol).

Try to find one that will give you at least some basic advice via e-mail for free. If they insist on charging $500 for a simple question or won’t even give you the time of day, next them. Tons out there.

Just like us we have to be stringent on our time, but there’s also being a ****.

Good topic. I’m in the same situation, Canadian nomad.

My own struggle is to figure out where to put my money (the whole financial aspect of nomadry makes me stick my head in the sand).

I also have a European citizenship, but not clear as to how to proceed, as I have no idea where I will be in 3 or 6 months, let alone where I want to retire…

Quite the niche market for accountants.

Keep us posted on your developments!

I’d love to know if you find one! I’m from BC too and I’ve had a HARD time finding the right accountant.

Hey @sarahpeterson.

Like I said above a fellow Canadian nomad shared his with me, but told me explicitly not to give out contact information… hate to be a tease/that guy, but don’t want to piss them off.

Google search has lots of accountants for expats :).

Basically what I found out though was you need to declare you aren’t a resident for one tax return (e.g. when you start being a nomad), and from there, you just need to work with your accountant. I don’t think it’s worth the hassle to figure this out on our own, pay someone to deal with it.

My experience is most accountants or lawyers know only Canadian system and so is only 50% of the picture. Also I believe a tax lawyer is more useful than an accountant. And thirdly, they all charge an arm and a leg for giving you an opinion, of which only a legal opinion might be useful to protect you in terms of what you ultimately do. Also lawyers protect your privacy.

Msg me and I’ll share some of my research links. I am not 100% sure on any of them but you have to trust your intuition I guess.

@blueblueocean - I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a tax lawyer/that could be an option. Messaged you.