Author Topic: Canadian move  (Read 1537 times)

Rover12

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Canadian move
« on: August 31, 2017, 09:15:14 AM »
I have posted in a couple other areas, but to avoid confusion and hijacking someone else's thread, here's my story. My spouse and I are US citizens and are moving to Fredericton, NB in a couple months for her first job in academia. I think I have wrapped my head around the tax implications and I am starting to understand more about the healthcare system.  I work in healthcare in the states and make a good salary but have been striking out in Canada, as my career doesn't exist there in the same capacity. I have been saving 50% of our income for the last few years to have the flexibility to get out of this field if I want or go part time, but that day has been moved up by about 10 years because of a lack of job market. I will have residency along with my spouse, so I could get any old job, but ultimately will likely either commute to the states a few days per week to continue my job part time (and still make pretty decent money, but miss out on family time), give it some time and see what comes up or seriously look into starting my own business. I am hoping people can help with some questions I have as I have not been able to find answers and I am a person who needs to have accurate numbers on the spreadsheet...

1. What does starting side hustle in Canada (Etsy selling or health and wellness consultant are the options) look like? Any different in terms of start up capital or LLC, etc formation that is necessary?

2. Do people who live in Canada usually buy a cheap supplemental health insurance plan when they come to the US to cover any accidents? We may come to visit family for upwards of two months out of the year and there is a good chance our supplemental coverage won't extend that far (we are waiting for the answer).

3. Any good recommendations for cell phone plans that would allow us to call the US without high fees? I have looked at Google Fi and that seems to be the most practical, but still isn't designed for exactly what we're looking for. I realize this may be asking too much and Google talk or Skype may be the more practical options for weekly chats with family.

4. I guess this is more of a cultural question, and I apologize ahead of time if it comes across as ignorant. There are so many volunteer opportunities in the Fredericton area that I am excited about getting involved in. The idealistic part of me says that if I start meeting people in the community, I will find a job that I enjoy or can volunteer in medicine to keep my license active. The pessimistic/realistic part of me says that I have sent my resume to multiple health care facilities and no one wants to hire me, despite my experience. My question is, what is the job market or economy in Canada (perhaps Fredericton, NB to be more accurate) like and is it a possibility of finding a job that I find fulfilling at a cutting edge organization or is the economy based more on traditional jobs and career paths? I hope that makes sense.

Obviously, I would love to hear from anyone with knowledge of Fredericton. Despite the financial stress, we are very excited about the move!

RichMoose

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Re: Canadian move
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2017, 10:55:22 AM »
I have posted in a couple other areas, but to avoid confusion and hijacking someone else's thread, here's my story. My spouse and I are US citizens and are moving to Fredericton, NB in a couple months for her first job in academia. I think I have wrapped my head around the tax implications and I am starting to understand more about the healthcare system.  I work in healthcare in the states and make a good salary but have been striking out in Canada, as my career doesn't exist there in the same capacity. I have been saving 50% of our income for the last few years to have the flexibility to get out of this field if I want or go part time, but that day has been moved up by about 10 years because of a lack of job market. I will have residency along with my spouse, so I could get any old job, but ultimately will likely either commute to the states a few days per week to continue my job part time (and still make pretty decent money, but miss out on family time), give it some time and see what comes up or seriously look into starting my own business. I am hoping people can help with some questions I have as I have not been able to find answers and I am a person who needs to have accurate numbers on the spreadsheet...

1. What does starting side hustle in Canada (Etsy selling or health and wellness consultant are the options) look like? Any different in terms of start up capital or LLC, etc formation that is necessary?

2. Do people who live in Canada usually buy a cheap supplemental health insurance plan when they come to the US to cover any accidents? We may come to visit family for upwards of two months out of the year and there is a good chance our supplemental coverage won't extend that far (we are waiting for the answer).

3. Any good recommendations for cell phone plans that would allow us to call the US without high fees? I have looked at Google Fi and that seems to be the most practical, but still isn't designed for exactly what we're looking for. I realize this may be asking too much and Google talk or Skype may be the more practical options for weekly chats with family.

4. I guess this is more of a cultural question, and I apologize ahead of time if it comes across as ignorant. There are so many volunteer opportunities in the Fredericton area that I am excited about getting involved in. The idealistic part of me says that if I start meeting people in the community, I will find a job that I enjoy or can volunteer in medicine to keep my license active. The pessimistic/realistic part of me says that I have sent my resume to multiple health care facilities and no one wants to hire me, despite my experience. My question is, what is the job market or economy in Canada (perhaps Fredericton, NB to be more accurate) like and is it a possibility of finding a job that I find fulfilling at a cutting edge organization or is the economy based more on traditional jobs and career paths? I hope that makes sense.

Obviously, I would love to hear from anyone with knowledge of Fredericton. Despite the financial stress, we are very excited about the move!

1. Most people with a smaller side hustle choose to operate a sole proprietorship. It's an unincorporated company. Basically you run it as a business but you are responsible to pay taxes on profits as an individual and you also are not protected liability-wise. It's not an issue in most cases as you can get reasonable liability insurance.
You can also start a corporation (Canadian controlled private corporation). It requires some legal paperwork and costs $1,000. You then run a separate legal entity which files its own taxes. You are a shareholder and employee of your personal corporation. If offers some tax advantages (which might be substantially reduced under current government intentions) and liability benefits. However, increasingly directors and managing employees are also being sued personally for corporate liabilities.
2. They do, but if your spouse is working for a university she should get a decent supplemental health plan. This should include travel medical insurance coverage for your family.
3. This one is tricky. The best might be using Whatsapp or Skype. Cell phones and data are pricey in Canada. Your best bet might be Virgin Mobile, PC Mobile, Koodo, or Fido. Speakout Wireless might work, but depending on your call/text patterns it is not always cheaper. Some of the home cable providers are offering Wifi hotspots around cities for their customers. This is a great way to get more free data for your phone as well.
4. I think this depends on your medical profession. Fredericton is a government town plain and simple. It's driven by provincial government work, military, and healthcare. Most of the real economy is in Saint John and Moncton. While Moncton and Halifax are doing reasonably well, the east coast provinces in general are not very economically strong. Lots of people there, particularly in rural areas, work in resource industries and lower paying service jobs and game the Employment Insurance system to make a living.
You might want to consider opportunities in government, civilian military positions (not sure about citizenship problems though), or continuing work in the U.S. on a part time basis if maintenance of a license is important. Portland Maine is only 4 hours away, so it might be an option.

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Re: Canadian move
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2017, 11:05:44 AM »
1. Yes, I agree - usually sole proprietorship is the way to go for a small business, at least at first. Partnership (usually) is the same, except with more than one person. Otherwise incorporation.
You can find a lot of business info here http://www.bdc-canada.com/ as well as on the Canada Revenue Agency website. That's where I get my detailed info about business taxes, expenses, etc. Most major cities also have some kind of entrepreneur centre or agency that you can talk to once you move.

2. Insurance coverage - yes. You will want emergency coverage when you first move to Canada before you are eligible for provincial health care. (I can sell or quote this for you if you are interested.) And also you will want emergency health care when you go back to the US. And you are correct that the coverage your spouse gets through work may not cover that many days and/or have less coverage than an individual policy.  (I can refer you re: this as well, if needed.)

3. For cell service it seems to really depend on the area what providers have decent coverage at all. So first you need to find someone in NB to tell you who has good coverage, and then compare their rates for US calling.

4. Sorry, haven't been to Fredericton, so no comments on this question.

Novik

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Re: Canadian move
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2017, 11:18:51 AM »
I have posted in a couple other areas, but to avoid confusion and hijacking someone else's thread, here's my story. My spouse and I are US citizens and are moving to Fredericton, NB in a couple months for her first job in academia. I think I have wrapped my head around the tax implications and I am starting to understand more about the healthcare system.  I work in healthcare in the states and make a good salary but have been striking out in Canada, as my career doesn't exist there in the same capacity. I have been saving 50% of our income for the last few years to have the flexibility to get out of this field if I want or go part time, but that day has been moved up by about 10 years because of a lack of job market. I will have residency along with my spouse, so I could get any old job, but ultimately will likely either commute to the states a few days per week to continue my job part time (and still make pretty decent money, but miss out on family time), give it some time and see what comes up or seriously look into starting my own business. I am hoping people can help with some questions I have as I have not been able to find answers and I am a person who needs to have accurate numbers on the spreadsheet...

1. What does starting side hustle in Canada (Etsy selling or health and wellness consultant are the options) look like? Any different in terms of start up capital or LLC, etc formation that is necessary?

1. Most people with a smaller side hustle choose to operate a sole proprietorship. It's an unincorporated company. Basically you run it as a business but you are responsible to pay taxes on profits as an individual and you also are not protected liability-wise. It's not an issue in most cases as you can get reasonable liability insurance.
You can also start a corporation (Canadian controlled private corporation). It requires some legal paperwork and costs $1,000. You then run a separate legal entity which files its own taxes. You are a shareholder and employee of your personal corporation. If offers some tax advantages (which might be substantially reduced under current government intentions) and liability benefits. However, increasingly directors and managing employees are also being sued personally for corporate liabilities.

Rover12, I don't want to question your knowledge of the cross border challenges, but I do encourage you to continue your research. I recommend this book.

Because for #1 above: I think you can get into trouble due to being a "foreign corporation" (see this article for a brief discussion). This is just one of the many things that are hard to predict.

As few quick other notes: make sure you brush up on FBARs (bank account reporting) and avoid investing in Canada before learning about PFIC rules. Don't open an RESP for any kids you have, or a TFSA. RRSP is fine (a black box to the IRS) IF you file the right forms with your tax return.

It's complicated! But the book above I mentioned? It's a great primer on all the pitfalls you can encounter. I cannot stress enough how much I think you should read The American in Canada (2nd edition) if you haven't already read a similar comprehensive book. There are SO MANY ways to be tripped up with a cross-border move. The library may have the book, but if not it's well worth the cost.

RichMoose

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Re: Canadian move
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2017, 11:36:01 AM »
1. What does starting side hustle in Canada (Etsy selling or health and wellness consultant are the options) look like? Any different in terms of start up capital or LLC, etc formation that is necessary?

1. Most people with a smaller side hustle choose to operate a sole proprietorship. It's an unincorporated company. Basically you run it as a business but you are responsible to pay taxes on profits as an individual and you also are not protected liability-wise. It's not an issue in most cases as you can get reasonable liability insurance.
You can also start a corporation (Canadian controlled private corporation). It requires some legal paperwork and costs $1,000. You then run a separate legal entity which files its own taxes. You are a shareholder and employee of your personal corporation. If offers some tax advantages (which might be substantially reduced under current government intentions) and liability benefits. However, increasingly directors and managing employees are also being sued personally for corporate liabilities.

Rover12, I don't want to question your knowledge of the cross border challenges, but I do encourage you to continue your research. I recommend this book.

Because for #1 above: I think you can get into trouble due to being a "foreign corporation". This is just one of the many things that are hard to predict.

As few quick other notes: make sure you brush up on FBARs (bank account reporting) and avoid investing in Canada before learning about PFIC rules. Don't open an RESP for any kids you have, or a TFSA. RRSP is fine (a black box to the IRS) IF you file the right forms with your tax return.

This is a great point and one I should have dove into more. Taxes and reporting can be a nightmare for corporations owned by foreigners. Even as an individual earner or investor realizing investment returns, you have reporting obligations to the CRA & IRS due mostly to the way the U.S. tax system works.

You would be very smart to use a corporate lawyer who is very familiar with U.S.-Canada tax issues when setting up your corporation (if that's the route you choose). Fortunately there are a fair amount of lawyers out there who do this.

Rover12

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Re: Canadian move
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2017, 12:03:11 PM »
1. Thanks for the tips so far. We live in Bangor, ME now (about 3 hours from Fredericton) and I have contacted some border city CPAs and read a couple other books (not the one you mention specifically-I will check our library). I understand the need to file US taxes, even if we don't earn W-2 income here as well as the difficulties with investing in anything other than RRSPs. The way I understood it was as long as I was working in the US, I could still contribute to my 403b/401k and a Roth without it being an issue in Canada. If creating my own business in Canada is not wise, that would be good to know. Honestly, I'm not anticipating it bringing in that much money, so it probably wouldn't be worth the cost of a corporate lawyer to do it properly.

2. I reviewed the policy and it looks like we will have travel coverage for up to 180 days, so I think we're set there.

3. I will take a look at the cell  phone companies mentioned and Whatsapp.

4. I am starting to think that my only real option is to travel down to where live and work part time if this is going to work.

Thanks for the comments thus far

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Re: Canadian move
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2017, 12:23:41 PM »

4. I am starting to think that my only real option is to travel down to where live and work part time if this is going to work.


Surely you've looked into this- but what about telemedicine?

Rover12

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Re: Canadian move
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2017, 04:00:36 PM »
@iowajes- I have looked into telemedicine. Not available in my field. Good thought though.