n increasing number of CSAmembers have alerted
the association to letters which they have received
from their Canadian financial institutions requir-
ing them to confirm their status for U.S. tax purposes.
These letters request the client to complete and submit
IRS FormW-8BEN (or Form SCI-W8 in some instances)
if they are NOT a U.S. person (e.g. dual citizen of Canada
and the United States).
Many snowbirds who have opened bank accounts in the
United States may already be familiar with IRS Form
W-8BEN, as this U.S. official form is often completed by
foreign account holders to certify their non-U.S. status.
The reason that Canadian banks are now requesting this
documentation is due to the Foreign Account Tax Com-
pliance Act (FATCA) – U.S. legislation aimed at targeting
U.S. persons who are evading taxation through the use
of overseas financial accounts. Under FATCA, Canadian
financial institutions are required to identify and report
certain accounts of U.S. persons to the Canada Revenue
Agency which will, in turn, share this information with
the Internal Revenue Service. Therefore, if your Canadian
bank suspects that you may be a U.S. person, you could
receive a similar letter requesting additional documen-
tation to confirm your status.
It is recommended that members who receive such a
letter complete the appropriate form and forward it to
their financial institution. IRS FormW-8BEN is kept on
file for a three-year period.
As we mentioned in issue 92 of
Alert), FATCA is yet another reason to file Form 8840.
As most CSAmembers already know, any snowbird who
typically spends more than four months in the U.S. each
calendar year could meet the substantial presence test
of the IRS and would, therefore, be deemed a resident
alien for U.S. tax purposes. In order to be treated as a
non-resident alien, based on closer residential ties to
Canada, these individuals need to file IRS Form 8840
annually, in a timely fashion.
As you may have already read in the president’s message,
CSA staff will soon be releasing our Federal Election
Handbook in preparation for the federal election on
October 19, 2015. In addition, we will be sending letters
to the party leaders asking them to clarify their positions
on issues of importance to Canadian travellers.
Although day-to-day provision of the majority of our
health services remain the responsibility of our provincial
and territorial officials, the federal government still has a
significant role to play. Almost none of the provinces are
meeting their funding obligations under the portability
principle of the Canada Health Act. In these cases, we rely
on the federal government to take action and enforce the
act; after all, it is a piece of federal legislation.
The federal government needs to address the min-
imum residency requirements necessary for eligibility
for insured health-care services. Currently, there is a
patchwork of requirements across the country, allowing
residents of some provinces much less freedom to travel
than some of their fellowCanadians fromother provinces
Some jurisdictions permit residents to travel freely for
up to 12 consecutive months, while others force their
residents to be physically in the province for a minimum
of six months a year. It is up to the federal government to
enforce the Canada Health Act and set national standards
for health insurance eligibility. In the absence of national
standards, the current patchwork across the country will
be allowed to continue.
Also, there is currently a patchwork of rules across the
country specifying limits for prescriptionmedication that
provincial and territorial drug programs will cover. Some
jurisdictions will cover a seven-month supply, matching
the amount of time for which residents can remain out-
side of their home province while remaining eligible for
continuous health coverage. Other jurisdictions limit the
supply of prescription drugs to as few as 30 days.
Again, as the protector of national standards in health
care and a partner in providing access to drugs for many
Canadians, the federal government has an important role
to play in ensuring that Canadians who need govern-
ment-supported drug benefits continue to have access to
the medication which they require when they exercise
their right to travel.
Once we receive the replies from each party, we will
post them on our website atwww.snowbirds.org so
you can see where the party leaders stand before casting