There may be 50 ways to leave your lover – but how many ways can you leave Canada?

Tongue in cheek of course, and no I don’t mean planes, trains and automobiles! I am talking about moving out of Canada and no, U-haul or hitching doesn’t count either.

Many people are under the mistaken perception they can just take their Canadian Passport, pack up and move elsewhere – presumably with the blessing of the government in their planned destination of course. But it isn’t that simple and there are significant numbers of financial planners, accountants and members of the legal profession that make very good incomes in this unique practice area.

Some (but not all) of the choices are: non-resident Canadian tax-payer, non-resident, non-Canadian tax-payer plus a few others. The requirements and qualifications for each category are detailed and can be complex. Dispositions of assets (actual or deemed) is a major issue. Ongoing eligibility for RRSP and CPP contributions come into play. Are you planning to return to Canada as a full-time resident tax-payer in the future? What about your health care protection? Other items such as driver’s license’s and retention of real estate or other types of property are also part of the equation.

Before you start selling Canadian assets and arranging for the movers, please do your research beginning with residency requirements, tax treaties and your new host country’s approach to people wanting to or having to maintain some sort of dual tax status with Canada. Do you need a VISA (not the credit card – government permission to be in the other country) and if so what type? For how long is it valid? Do you have to leave your host country every so many months and then return? What about validity of Canadian medical insurance and its duration of coverage? Can you own property? Does it cost more if you are not a citizen? Can you own cars? Is your new host’s banking and investment and money-transfer system effective and efficient and compliant with international money laundering laws? How much currency (Canadian or otherwise) can you bring with you?

When you leave Canada there are lots of forms and declarations to complete – and not just for Immigration Services – but also CRA, the holders of your Canadian banking accounts, investments, RRSPs, pensions, provincial health care, etc.

If this is your plan, please hire these three professionals to get you through this in a timely, effective, efficient and LEGAL manner. CRA is particularly unforgiving – you only get one chance to pick your tax regime for leaving – make sure it is the one you want!

PS This will take at least 6 months to get done and maybe as much as a year before you are 100% ready to go!