Who will do my (cross-border) taxes? Me?
January 26, 2023 9:32 AM   Subscribe

This year I have a slightly complicated (but not that complicated) tax situation as I moved countries and also sold some (but not all) stock holdings. My original arrangements for tax prep have fallen through and I am having a LOT of trouble finding anyone else willing to take me on as a client. Can I DIY this with a fancy version of Turbotax or something? Or, alternatively, does anyone have any leads on good US/Canada tax accountants who are actually accepting new clients? (Moved from the US to Canada last fall)

I am a Canadian citizen and no longer have any residency ties to the US. I understand the basics of determining tax residency and moving from one place to another and have previously talked with my (ex-)accountant on the things I need to consider - as far as I can tell, here are all of the things I need to report on my tax returns:

- Salaried employment in both countries (1 W-2 and 1 T4)
- Contributions to retirement accounts: 401k, IRA and RRSP
- Employee stock plan vesting that occurred both in the US and Canada, and possible overwitholding therein
- Stock sale while I was still a US resident, negligible capital gains
- Keeping some of my stocks when I moved to Canada (which I have been advised, triggers a change in cost basis)

Is this something that is feasible to put together myself? Or how can I go about finding a cross-border accountant who is still taking on new clients? All of the recommendations I've gotten from friends, coworkers, etc have told me they are fully booked (if they even answered my calls/messages in the first place). Any advice appreciated. Thanks!
posted by btfreek to Work & Money (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It looks like Keats Connelly is the largest wealth management firm focused on cross border services.

CBTA was started as a tax prep subsidiary to Keats Connelly but has since become independent. Since both of those are fairly large they may be taking new clients at this time.
posted by donut_princess at 11:49 AM on January 26

Also I would not recommend attempting to do this yourself without a background in federal taxation. U.S. tax law is very particular when it comes to the finances of prior citizens.
posted by donut_princess at 11:52 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]

Some H&R Blocks in Canada have a US tax specialist on site!
posted by warriorqueen at 12:48 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]

I have not moved between these specific two countries, but I can tell you for several other moves between countries this would be 'split year' treatment. You should search for this to see if it's what you're supposed to be doing.

I hope for your sake it is; it means you have to do two tax returns, but it makes them entirely independent of each other (and tends to leave you in lower tax bands to boot).
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 2:23 PM on January 26

My friend who does this work professionally replied as follows: “ Shaun Andresen at Baker Tilly Victoria. Shaun is a really good friend of mine and BT Victoria always accepts new clients. Plus their rates are really reasonable. ”. MeMail me for Shaun’s email address.
posted by matildaben at 8:20 AM on January 27

I’m a Canadian CPA who deals with Canada-US cross border taxation. I would never really *recommend* that someone try to do their own taxes in this situation, but I will put out there that it is *possible* especially given that you sound like you have quite a good grasp of the items you need to deal with. The main considerations are 1) how much time do you want to invest in this and 2) how big are the dollar amounts? (I.e. how much risk are you willing to take)?

If you decided you want to try and pursue this yourself, at least as a first step, I’d suggest that you first determine your residency status (for tax purposes) in each country independently. That will determine whether each country is taxing you on your earnings for the whole year or just part of the year. You can then prepare a draft of each return based on that information.

The next thing you want to do is determine whether any of your income is appearing on both returns. If so, you’ll need to figure out which country the income is sourced in. That tells you which country is the primary source of taxation so that you can figure out the foreign tax credit in the other country.

Even if you use an accountant for this work, I hope some of this information is useful to you. The more organized you are when you approach a tax accountant, the lower your fees will generally be!
posted by bkpiano at 7:43 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]

After unsuccessfully attempting to do our US expat taxes ourselves with Turbo Tax, we started using Taxes for Expats. Wish we had done it sooner. It says they are able to help foreign citizens with US-sourced income. It would only be a solution for the US component of your tax, but it could be helpful as you transition your residency.
posted by amusebuche at 5:26 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]

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