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Easy and Affordable US Tax Filing from Canada

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Take the hassle out of filing US tax returns from Canada. With fees starting at $299, we make overseas US tax compliance affordable and hassle-free.

Who Needs to File US Tax Returns from Canada?

As a US citizen or green card holder living in Canada, it's essential to understand your tax filing obligations with the IRS. Regardless of where you live, if your income exceeds certain thresholds based on your filing status, you are required to file a US tax return. These thresholds are adjusted annually for inflation. For the tax year 2023, the filing thresholds are as follows:

  • Single: If you are single and under 65, you must file if your income was at least $12,950. If you are 65 or older, the threshold increases to $14,700.

  • Married Filing Jointly: For couples under 65, the threshold is $25,900. If one spouse is 65 or older, it increases to $27,300, and if both are 65 or older, it's $28,700.

  • Married Filing Separately: This status has a much lower threshold. If you are married but file separately, you need to file a tax return if your income was at least $5, regardless of age.

  • Head of Household: If you qualify for this status, the threshold is $19,400 for those under 65. For those 65 and older, it's $21,150.

Expert Insight: Even if your income is below these thresholds, there may be other reasons to file a tax return, such as claiming a refundable tax credit or report significant interest in a foreign corporation.

US Tax Deadlines for Expats in Canada

American expatriates residing in Canada must be mindful of several critical tax return deadlines, which differ from those typically faced by taxpayers within the United States. While April 15th is a well-known deadline for all U.S. taxpayers, expats have additional dates to consider. If any of these deadlines occur on a weekend or a U.S. federal holiday, the due date will be adjusted to the next business day.

 

  • April 15th: Standard filing deadline for US taxpayers.

  • June 15th: Automatic two-month extension for US citizens living abroad.

  • October 15th: Extended deadline for those who request an extension before the June 15th deadline.

  • December 15th: Additional extended deadline for those who requested the additional 2 month overseas extension.

Expert Insight: While extensions are available, they only extend the time to file, not the time to pay any taxes due.

What Tax Credits and Income Exclusions Can Expats in Canada Claim?

Understanding the various tax credits and income exclusions available is essential for expats to minimizing their tax liability and ensuring compliance with U.S. tax laws. Below, we explore some of the key tax credits and income exclusions that are particularly relevant for American expatriates in Canada:

  • Foreign Earned Income Exclusion: The foreign earned income exclusion is a significant benefit for U.S. expats, allowing them to exclude up to $120,000 (as of 2023) of their income earned in a foreign country from U.S. taxation. To qualify, expats must meet certain requirements, such as the physical presence test or the bona fide residence test, demonstrating that they have been living and working in a foreign country for a specified period.

  • Foreign Housing Exclusion: The foreign housing exclusion allows expats to deduct a portion of their housing expenses incurred while living abroad from their taxable income. The exclusion covers various housing costs, including rent, utilities (except telephone charges), and certain insurance premiums. The amount of exclusion depends on the location and can vary significantly based on the local cost of living.

  • Foreign Tax Credit: The foreign tax credit is designed to prevent double taxation for Americans paying taxes in both the U.S. and a foreign country. It offers a dollar-for-dollar credit against U.S. taxes for any income taxes paid to a foreign government. This credit is particularly beneficial for expats residing in countries with high tax rates, as it can significantly reduce or even eliminate their U.S. tax bill.

  • Refundable Child Tax Credit: The child tax credit provides a financial boost to expats with children, offering up to $1,600 per child as a refundable credit. To be eligible, children must meet certain requirements, such as age and dependency criteria.

 

Penalties for Late or Incorrect US Tax Filing

Understanding and adhering to tax filing requirements is crucial to avoid penalties. These penalties can be significant and include:

  • Failure-to-File Penalty: Generally 5% of unpaid taxes for each month the return is late, up to 25%. If filed more than 60 days late, the minimum penalty is the lesser of $435 or 100% of the unpaid tax.

  • Failure-to-Pay Penalty: Typically 0.5% of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month after the due date, until fully paid.

  • Fraud Penalties: If inaccuracies are due to fraud, penalties can be up to 15% per month, with a maximum of 75%.

  • Interest Charges: Compounded daily from the due date of the return until the tax is paid in full, calculated at the federal short-term rate plus 3%.

 

Essential IRS Tax Forms for Expats Residing in Canada

It's crucial to be aware of the different IRS forms that apply to your situation. Understanding and correctly filing these forms is key to ensuring tax compliance and optimizing your tax situation. The following are some of the most important tax forms that U.S. expats need to be familiar with:

  • Form 1116 (Foreign Tax Credit): This form is used to claim a credit for income taxes paid to the French government, helping to avoid double taxation on the same income.

  • Form 2555 (Foreign Earned Income): Essential for those claiming the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, this form allows expats to exclude a certain amount of their foreign earnings from U.S. taxation.

  • Form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets): This form is for reporting certain foreign financial assets, including bank accounts, investments, and assets held through foreign entities. The reporting threshold varies based on filing status and whether you live in the U.S. or abroad.

  • Form 8833 (Treaty-Based Return Position Disclosure): Used when a taxpayer takes a position that a U.S. tax treaty with a foreign country overrules or modifies the provisions of the U.S. tax law. It's essential for expats who are claiming treaty benefits that impact their U.S. tax.

  • Form 5471 (Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Corporations): This form is required for U.S. citizens who are officers, directors, or shareholders in certain foreign corporations. It's a critical form for expats involved in foreign businesses to report their foreign corporation's activities and comply with U.S. tax laws.

 

Catching Up on Overseas Filing From Canada

US expats in Canada who haven't filed their US tax returns might be eligible to use the IRS Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures to get back into compliance. This program allows for filing the last three years of tax returns and six years of FBARs without late penalties, provided your failure to file was non-willful and the IRS hasn't already contacted you about the delinquent filings. It's crucial to act quickly, as eligibility for this lenient approach is lost if the IRS initiates contact first. This program is an excellent opportunity for expats who were unaware of their filing obligations to become compliant with minimal repercussions.

 

Does the US Have a Tax Treaty with Canada?

Yes, the US and Canada have a tax treaty in place, but it's important for American expatriates to note that many benefits of this treaty are limited due to the 'savings clause.' This clause essentially allows the US to tax its citizens as if the treaty didn't exist, which means that most treaty benefits don't apply to US expats. Despite this, the treaty still plays a crucial role in preventing double taxation on income like pensions, dividends, and interest, by clarifying how these are taxed by each country.

 

Social Security Taxes for Self Employed Expats in Canada

Self-employed U.S. expats living in Canada are only subject to Canadian social security taxes, not U.S., thanks to the US-Canada Totalization Agreement. This agreement ensures American expatriates avoid double taxation, clarifying that their social security contributions are due only in the country where they work.

 

Foreign Bank Account Reporting

In addition to their tax filing obligations, US citizens who have a combined maximum value of more than $10,000 in foreign financial accounts at any point during the tax year also need to file the Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report (FBAR). The FBAR, or FinCEN Form 114, is a critical measure for informing the U.S. government about Americans' overseas financial activities, playing a significant role in the prevention of tax evasion. It's crucial for expats to understand that failing to file the FBAR can result in severe penalties, including fines of up to $10,000 for non-willful violations.

Article by Lewis Grunfeld, CPA

Lewis Grunfeld, CPA, is a renowned expert in international and U.S. expat taxation, with expertise spanning over ten years. He has successfully helped thousands of expats around the world navigate and comply with U.S. tax laws, and achieve significant tax savings. His work is driven by a strongly rooted passion for assisting the expatriate community through a wide range of tax challenges, ensuring tailored solutions for each unique situation.

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Navigate the complexities of filing US taxes from Canada with ease and confidence. As a US citizen living in Canada, you deserve a tax service that's not only affordable but also hassle-free. Our team of specialized US tax accountants is here to guide you every step of the way. We offer competitive pricing without compromising on quality or service, as reflected in our stellar 4.9 out of 5 customer satisfaction rating. Rest assured, with our expert team and exceptional customer satisfaction record, you're in capable hands for a smooth and efficient US tax filing experience from Canada.

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OUR LOW PRICING

TRANSPARENT PRICING STARTING AT JUST $299 USD

Basic TAX RETURN
$299

INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING FORMS:

  • Form 1040 - Individual Tax Return

  • Form 1116 - Foreign Tax Credit

  • Form 2555  - Foreign Income Exclusion

  • Sch A - Itemized Deductions

  • Sch B - Interest and Dividends (Up to 5 accounts)

  • Schedule D - Capital Gains and Losses (Up to 2 Accounts)

ADDITIONAL IRS FORMS

  • Schedule B - $25 (per additional account)

  • Schedule C - $100

  • Schedule D - $50 (per additional account)

  • Schedule E - $100 (per property)

  • Form 8938 - $100 (up to 10 accounts)

  • Form 8833 - $75

  • Form 5471 - $500

  • State Return - $100

FBAR - $100

Price includes up to 10 accounts. Additional accounts are $10 each.

tax engagement required for fbar services.

IRS AMNESTY PROGRAM
$1,249

Includes 3 years of tax returns, 6 years of FBARs and the streamline certification form

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OUR SIMPLE 3 STEP PROCESS

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