A limited time amnesty program for U.S. citizens who have been hiding income in undisclosed offshore accounts by not reporting their “foreign” investment income and corresponding investment accounts to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service expired on Friday Sept. 9. So if you are one of the thousands of American citizens, residents and green-card holders living in Canada who has not been filing to the IRS an annual statement, as is required under U.S. law, you might be asking: What now?
Unlike almost every other country in the world, the U.S. requires that its citizens - that includes dual American and Canadian citizens - report their worldwide income to the IRS, even if they have never lived or worked there. Although it is legal for Americans to hold accounts in other countries, the IRS requires annual disclosure and failure to do so amounts to tax evasion. That includes chequing and saving accounts, investment accounts, pensions, RRSPs, and RESPs.
Wayne Bewick is a Canadian chartered accountant, a certified financial planner and a U.S. certified public accountant, specializing in expatriate and international taxation. He spends half the year working out of the Toronto office of Trowbridge Professional Corp. and the other half of the year working out of the London, U.K. office assisting Canadian and American clients with tax issues.
Mr. Bewick was here to answer your questions. Click on the Cover it Live box below to read a transcript of the discussion.