Retiring Abroad - Will Canadians be Able to Spend More Time in the U.S.?

Milestone Wealth Management Ltd. - Jul 21, 2021

Spending your retirement years outside of Canada is a popular endeavour, and the US is the most popular destination for Canadian snowbirds. Recently, we wrote on the topics of Tax Implications of Foreign Residency and How Much Time Can a Canadian Spend in the US?

However, there is an interesting political development in the United States that could have a dramatic impact on Canadian retirees. Two senators from Florida, a state that is a big beneficiary of Canadian travellers, have reintroduced a bill called the Canadian Snowbirds Act. This proposed piece of legislation would allow Canadians to spend up to eight months of the year in the US. This would give Canadian snowbirds who own a property in the US the opportunity to spend much more time at that home.

Under current law, Canadians can spend up to 180 days in the US. However, for snowbirds that spend a significant amount of time in the US every year, it is typically recommended not to spend more than 120 days in the US each year (read the above blog posts for more details). Whereas that is a reasonable amount of time, this is usually not long enough to completely avoid a Canadian winter. In addition, this doesn’t allow those snowbirds to return to the US any other time of the year, leaving that home empty or potentially being rented out or used by other family. If this legislation passes, those Canadians would get much more use out of their property.

It is definitely worth noting that this isn’t the first time legislation like this has been proposed, so for now it is just speculation. However, maybe under the current Biden administration, this law might finally move forward. It is also important to point out that this doesn’t change the fact that a Canadian must stay in their home province for a certain period of time in order to keep their provincial health coverage intact (seven months per year for Alberta).

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