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I am a Canadian citizen, U.S. resident with Roth IRA, contributing for 15 years. I will be moving back to Canada in 2 years, am 47 years old, and will leave the Roth with Vanguard and not touch it until I turn 60. Then, I will get distributions as Canadian resident.

Will I ever pay taxes to the Canadian or U.S. government? My understanding is no, as long as I do not contribute to the Roth as a Canadian resident, and I make the proper filings with Canada taxation when I return.

To avoid screwing myself up, what filings do I need to do? Also, if I work in the U.S. in 2017, leaving May of that year to Canada, should I contribute to a Roth for 2017 or just 2016, not wanting to make a contribution while I become a Canadian resident? Thanks for the insight.

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See

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tp/itnews-43/it-news-43-e.pdf.

I haven't checked to see if there is anything more recent.

The general idea is that Canada will stay out of your ROTH IRA as it accrues tax free in the USA, but only if you cease contributions and tell them in a timely manner that you actually don't want to be taxed in your ROTH.

-JT

PS. Ironically, when I moved to Canada I made such a timely election but later regretted it because of unusual circumstances. (My ROTH IRA tanked because of a bad investment, but my election made a Canadian capital loss unavailable.)

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