Starting June 30, both Canadian and US border personnel will scan the passports of Canadians travelling between the two countries, all towards formal tracking of that three year U.S. presence count! This also gives the Canadians a tighter fix on their day count for health coverage, etc.
You will be considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes if you meet the substantial presence test for the calendar year. To meet this test, you must be physically present in the United States on at least:
- 31 days during the current year, and
- 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that, counting:
- All the days you were present in the current year, and
- 1/3 of the days you were present in the first year before the current year, and
- 1/6 of the days you were present in the second year before the current year.
You are treated as present in the United States on any day you are physically present in the country, at any time during the day. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Do not count the following as days of presence in the United States for the substantial presence test:
- Days you commute to work in the United States from a residence in Canada or Mexico, if you regularly commute from Canada or Mexico
- Days you are in the United States for less than 24 hours, when you are in transit between two places outside the United States
- Days you are in the United States as a crew member of a foreign vessel
- Days you are unable to leave the United States because of a medical condition that develops while you are in the United States
- Days you are an exempt individual, eg a student or professional athlete
If you are a snowbird, you will need to pay increased attention to this matter, given the ramp-up in tracking your travels.
For snowbirds heading south soon, remember that, since last June, your time in the US is being tracked and shared between the two governments. You are able to access their data on your comings-and-goings at www.cbp.gov/I94.
Other U.S. matters
The IRS recently announced that it will unveil a new, gentler amnesty program for non com-pliant expats to come onside their U.S. filing requirements.
The new US FATCA filings are due by June 30th, again with significant penalties for non-compliance. The IRS requires the individual taxpayer to file this on their own, and further, to do so online. Be sure to attend to this.