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Featuring the letters &

concerns of our members


Bird Talk, c/o CSANews

180 Lesmill Road

Toronto, Ontario M3B 2T5

or by e-mail:

Bird Talk

Dear Bird Talk,

Confused; friends go out of country for

just under six months each and every year.

How is this possible with calculating back

two years prior. Is there something I am not

understanding, as a lot of people I know do

five to six months every year.

Herman Bulger

Port Colborne, ON

Ed.: Your friends are allowed to visit the U.S.

for six months, every year, as indicated in the

above answer. Your confusion is mixing up the

U.S. tax man and the U.S. immigration man.

If you regularly go for three months or longer,

I recommend that you file a Form 8840 with

the IRS (the tax man). This will tell the IRS that

you have a closer connection to Canada and

are taxed in Canada. Also, to avoid additional

confusion, the IRS works on a calendar year for

tax purposes. The Form 8840 is available from

the CSA on their website at .

Dear Bird Talk,

I have faithfully submittedmy IRS 8840 Form

for quite a few years now.

My question is, can I stay past the 182-day

limit by filling out the form? Or am I not

protected by the friendly country alliance

after the 182 days is up?

Alex Badiuk

Victoria, BC

Ed.: Congratulations on regularly completing

the Form 8840 for the Internal Revenue Ser-

vice known as the IRS (the tax man). This will

very likely prevent you from being taxed in the

United States on your worldwide income. If you

stay in the U.S. for longer than the six-month

period allowed in any calendar year, the IRS

will consider you to be a resident, and tax you.

They will tax you on what you earn in Canada

AND anywhere else, for that matter. The rare

exception is when you have received special

permission to extend your stay beyond six

months, in writing, and this is rarely granted.

Now, to answer your question. Filling out the

Form 8840 has nothing to do with your length of

stay – it has to do with taxes. The U.S. Customs

and Border Protection Agency, which forms

part of the Department of Homeland Security,

monitors and enforces your length of stay. If you

stay for longer than six months in any 12-month

period, you are breaking the law in the U.S. and

are violating the verbal visa which you received

when entering the U.S. This is not a good idea!!

Being barred from the U.S. for five to 10 years

is a common punishment.

Dear Bird Talk,

We simply forgot to file our Form 8840 in

June and filed in November – are there any

likely consequences?

Ross Ellison


Ed.: I believe that, as long as you filed the form,

you will be fine. This is not something which you

should worry about.

Dear Bird Talk,

As a result of a recent medical trauma, I

have discovered a disturbing aspect of the

use of top-up insurance. In the event of a

medical incident occurring late on the last

day of primary insurance, it will probably

not be covered by the primary insurer if

treatment is not sought until the next day.

On the other hand, Medipac insurance will

not cover the incident based upon the fact

that it occurred before midnight on the last

day prior to the top-up period. In my case,

the situation was resolved favourably as it was

minor and actually occurred after midnight,

but I would like to hear your comments on

this issue. What would happen, for example,

in the event of a major automobile accident

that occurred at 11:30 p.m.

Chris Hemstead

Ottawa, ON

Ed.: A great question! So let’s read the Medipac


“This policy covers Reasonable and Customary

Charges incurred by You outside Your province or

territory of principal residence; that result from a

Medical Emergency occurring during the period

of coverage (as explained below); and that You

incur for Medically Necessary Medical Treatment.

Your insurance begins at 12:01 a.m. on Your

Effective Date of Insurance and ends on the

earlier of: (a) 11:59 p.m. on the scheduled return

date set out in Your Application for insurance; (b)

the date You return to Canada for any medical

reason. Once treatment ends You may apply to

Medipac Assist to have Your policy reinstated.”

This clearly states that the medical emergency

must “occur” during your policy coverage period

for expenses to qualify. So, in your example, the

accident at 11:30 p.m. would be the responsibil-

ity of the primary insurer. If your primary insurer

refuses coverage in this situation, Medipac

would undoubtedly pay your claim and seek

restitution from the offenders. This has actually

happened to Medipac several times and is very

unfair to policyholders; the insurers do always

pay us back…eventually.

Just as an aside.What happens at exactly 12:00

midnight? Since most policies are written in this

manner, I would suggest that the bills be split

evenly between the two insurers.