by Dale Walters; David Levine; Sally Taylor Book  |  First edition: 2013
May be the most important book you read all year   (2013-01-31)
<div style="font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, FreeSans, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22px;">How does one measure the success of a book when there is nothing to compare it to? Taxation of Canadians in America is one of those books. Taxation is the first guide to tax rules, procedure, and planning for Canadian individuals in the US. With no other book of its kind for comparison, one can still fairly ask two questions: Does the book deliver the promised material? Is the book readable by the target audience? The answers to these questions are YES and YES!
Dale Walters and his co-authors Sally Taylor and David Levine have succeeded indeed. In less than 160 pages, Taxation of Canadians in America addresses the tax issues typically faced by Canadians in the US including a Canadian's first year in the US, resident-nonresident status, foreign tax credits, real estate, taxation of specific types of investments, partnerships, trusts, estate planning, navigating US tax returns, leaving the US, and much more.
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</div> <div style="font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, FreeSans, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 22px;">Taxation of Canadians in America is readable, even enjoyable. The writing reflects an expert's deep understanding of complex material and an author's ability to translate that complexity into words that the reader can grasp and place in context meaningful to the reader. The authors simplify without oversimplifying. Where words might be insufficient, the authors offer a diagram (and not a "complete" diagram on par with a logistics diagram for the Normandy invasion, just a simple diagram that conveys the essential information). </div>
Though the authors (partners at the fee-only cross-border wealth management firm of KeatsConnelly) devote a chapter to cross-border tax planning, they make clear that Taxation of Canadians in America is not a comprehensive do-it-yourself guide; the book is not a substitute for the custom analysis and recommendations of a seasoned cross-border tax practitioner. Instead, Taxation of Canadians in America equips the lay reader to be a well-informed consumer of professional tax services and to spot tax issues in his or her own situation.
Canadian readers may leave this book with the distinct impression that they or their tax professionals have been doing something wrong. Domestic tax professionals in the US and Canada typically lack the necessary understanding of a) the Canada-US tax treaty, b) the domestic tax regime of the other country, and c) how the two sets of domestic rules and the treaty work (or do not work!) together to provide solid cross-border tax advice. As the authors point out, engaging tax professionals on both sides of the border does not necessarily produce solid cross-border tax planning. In fact, the odds are good that something will be mismanaged or simply forgotten.
True cross-border tax practitioners are a rare breed but fortunately, there is a small and growing community of professionals devoted to acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills through years of study and experience. For Canadian readers who have been with the same tax professionals for decades, the challenge is to break with the familiar to get the help they need.
Taxation of Canadians in America, the latest addition to the KeatsConnelly Cross-Border Series, is the first book of its kind and likely will be the standard against which others are measured. This small volume should be read by every Canadian with a substantial connection to the US, whether as a snowbird, investor, or cross-border worker. It can be read in a few evenings and may be the most important book you read all year.
[This book review first appeared as a blog post in "BORDERS: Thoughts of a Cross-Border Advisor" (http://xbplanning.blogspot.com) on January 31, 2013]
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