What kind of professional do we want? And how to find one?
September 6, 2018 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Spouse and I need to move our savings from the US to Canada. It's not, like, a ton of money but it's our life savings. Some of it is in taxable investment accounts and some is in tax-advantaged retirement accounts. What kind of professional do we want to help us sort out how to do this legally and without incurring a bunch of penalty taxes? And, how to find one?

We think we have two main issues:

1) The taxable investment accounts are in ETFs that are listed on both the NYSE and the TSX. Can we move those across, and hold them in an account in Canada? How do we do that? Our internet research suggests that we can make that transfer without triggering any capital gains tax, which seems illogical (since the IRS is giving up its chance of getting our money) but maybe that's how it works.

2) The rest of our money is in 403(b) accounts, which seem......complicated to get into Canada without liquidating them and paying a bunch of penalties (since we're not retiring). As well, the regulations governing the cross border stuff don't seem to cover this type of account well, since it's relatively uncommon. Finally, they're in some kind of weird Fidelity investment, so we'll have to do something with that.

So, do we want an accountant? A tax lawyer? Something else? How do we find a good one with experience in cross border stuff? Do they have to be local? We've always DIY'd this kind of thing but this is beyond us.
posted by quaking fajita to Work & Money (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Couldn't you just hire a chartered accountant that specializes in international income?

Lawyers are about 2X as expensive as CGAs (that operate retail practices).
posted by JamesBay at 5:08 PM on September 6, 2018

So you should definitely get professional advice but the general advice for 401k accounts is to leave them as-is until you retire and start withdrawing from them.

As of 2015 this doc states that the CRA hasn't ruled whether you can do a tax-neutral transfer of a 403b to a RRSP. You could always retain someone to push the CRA to give you an opinion on the matter.
posted by GuyZero at 5:24 PM on September 6, 2018

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