As most of you probably know, Anne and I are spending the winter in Austin Texas, as MILLIONS of Canadians do, in all sunny places throughout the United States, for us to get away from the misery of a Canadian winter.
This is the first time in our lives that Anne and I have been able to avoid the Ice, Snow, and WELL BELOW Freezing Canadian Temperatures. And let me tell you. IT IS WONDERFUL.
Most Canadians have to wait for retirement to be able to do this. And that is ONLY if their pensions and/or personal investments allow them to afford this type of escape, especially when the current value of our Canadian Dollar is about THIRTY PERCENT LESS than that of the US Dollar.
In our case, Anne and I are LUCKY to have the type of business (Canadian – done only in Canada), we can manage from wherever we happen to be, as long as we have high-speed Internet.
So, even though I will turn SIXTY-FIVE YEARS OLD within a couple of weeks (February 12), both of us still have to work to maintain our lifestyle. BESIDES . . . if we didn’t work – what else would we do?
Anne and I are in the Canadian Hospitality Promotion and Advertising Business, with a company I set-up MORE than 30-years ago. So we REALLY know something about the business of TOURISM, which in itself is one of the MOST profitable “retail” revenue sources on the PLANET.
TOURISM is so IMPORTANT to a country’s economy, that MILLIONS-upon-MILLIONS of dollars are invested in tourist marketing by PRIVATE industry, as well as City, State and Federal Governments to bring in the TOURISTS.
All TOURISM REVENUE is great for all local economies, BUT . . . THE BEST TOURISM DOLLARS FOR A COUNTRY, COMES FROM OUT-OF-COUNTRY VISITORS.
And this is where Obama’s White House, State Department, and IRS . . . like all things they do, CRAP-OUT BIG TIME.
According to all statistics available . . . there are about THIRTY MILLION Canadian Tourist Visits to the USA every year, with revenue that probably exceeds THIRTY BILLION dollars annually.
Canadians who routinely visit the USA are NOT freeloaders. We spend SERIOUS money in the USA, creating and saving American jobs, while at the same time, bringing valuable FOREIGN Currency to the US Treasury.
We DON’T take American jobs. We DON’T seek welfare, food stamps, or FREE healthcare of any kind. And we are NOT criminals. We DON’T peddle drugs or smuggle people and other ILLICIT things into the country.
We DON’T hate the USA and scream Allah Akbar. And when we enter the USA, it is with Passports and/or Nexus Cards through the FRONT DOORS. We DON’T use Coyotes to sneak across the border.
We are GREAT for American restaurants, hotels, tourist destinations like Disney, movie theaters, live entertainment like Broadway . . . as well as shopping for everything from clothes to food . . . AND THE LIST GOES ON.
We rent Winter Homes, buy Condos, pay property taxes, and fill up RV Resorts.
During the Super Bowl Half-Time, Anne and I had the opportunity to chat with another Canadian (from Vancouver British Columbia), who like us was spending the winter away from Canada’s weather. In the case of Vancouver, it isn’t snow, as much as nonstop rain.
I asked him how long he has been here, and when he intends to head back North, to which he answered . . . he had to go back within the next couple of weeks, because he was close to his ALLOTTED NUMBER OF DAYS IN THE USA.
As of June 2014, Canadians are ALLOWED to spend NO MORE THAN 183-Days TOTAL in America, INCLUDING DAY-TRIPS . . . so we are told.
So, if Anne and I decide to spend SIX MONTHS of winter in America . . . THAT’S IT for us for the entire calendar year, or maybe a RUNNING YEAR, meaning that if we try to enter America again after our allotted time, several things can happen – none of which are good.
1 – We can be turned away at the border and not be allowed back into the USA for 5-years, as the story goes, on the SNOWBIRD official website.
2 – We can be arrested for attempting to enter the USA ILLEGALLY, which I think is an Urban Myth. But with the IRS . . . who knows?
3 – Or, according to the IRS Website, it can be deemed that a Canadian spending more than 183-days per calendar year, has abrogated his/her rights to protect their (our) Canadian Assets, which can then be taxed by the IRS.
WHAT KIND OF DUFUS would pass a law that CLOSES the door to BILLIONS of dollars in “foreign” revenue, coming from the BEST and least demanding source of income imaginable?
While in Canada, which is most of the year, Anne and I cross the US Border at least several times per month to do our grocery shopping, purchase products, eat at restaurants and buy cheaper gas.
But, if we have already stayed 183-days, as the current limit is set, we would be breaking the law by crossing the border into America, which means that all that revenue we would normally leave behind, which helps US retailers . . . IS SHUT OFF.
Because Anne and I will have spent three months as of January 1, 2015 to April 1, 2015 in the USA, when we return for the next winter from November 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015 . . . that would constitute 5-Months, leaving us with just one month left for us to travel to the USA . . . But ONLY if our time in the USA is counted as a CALENDAR YEAR.
So . . . what happens though, if it’s a RUNNING YEAR? And when does a Running Year begin and end?
Last year, I organized a two-week Pledge Ride to Boca Raton that put TENS of THOUSANDS of Dollars into the US economy. This year, we’re planning a Pledge Ride that will bring us to Washington DC, for about the same amount of time, which would leave me with just two weeks left after our Texas stay.
So . . . with this type of knowledge, how could I possibly risk going to the USA to shop, eat and enjoy some tourist stuff on Day Trips, just in case I overstayed my 183-days?
Like everything else that challenges me, I made a HUGE effort to find out exactly how this new law works, since everyone I’ve spoken to, has a different take on-it, including Accountants and Immigration Lawyers.
I might as well have called the moon, since by the time I was bounced from answering machine to answering machine, with no one to take my call. I gave up on them.
BUT NOT TO BE DETERRED, Anne and I surfed all over the IRS Website in search of some real information, which gave a new definition to the term . . . DOG’S BREAKFAST – but we wouldn’t serve our dog such a mess.
Believe me when I tell you . . . that if the IRS Website is indicative of how the government conveys information, I can only image the NIGHTMARE of the Obamacare Web Site.
There is one contradiction after another on this ridiculous Site. On one page they say one thing. And on another page they say just the OPPOSITE. On one page they say MUST, but on another page they say MAYBE.
According to the IRS Website, the 183-days are based on a Calendar Year. According to other sources I referenced, the 183-days are based on a RUNNING YEAR, from when you first cross into the USA for your extended stay.
Since I was no further ahead with the IRS, I went to where we must all go when CROSSING the Border into the USA, which was directly to a BORDER CROSSING, where I spoke directly with a US Border Agent (Homeland Security).
The guy I spoke with was very helpful and polite, but sadly, his take-on the new law added even more doubt and questions.
1 – Is it true that we cannot stay longer than 183-days in one year?
Kind of he said.
2 – IS it a RUNNING YEAR opposed to a calendar, starting when you cross into the USA for your extended stay?
It’s a running year he said.
3 – Do DAY TRIPS and short getaways count against the 183-days?
Not really he said.
I asked him about the IRS and FORM 8840, which supposedly all Canadians MUST fill out for the IRS, if we stay in the USA for more than 183-days TOTAL, which according to them seems to include DAY TRIPS.
He never heard of IRS Form 8840.
I proceeded to ask him who has the final authority about who enters the USA and under which circumstances . . . HOMELAND SECURITY OR THE IRS?
He made it abundantly clear, that it was the Border Service of Homeland Security, which decides who gets in and who doesn’t. And as far as he is concerned, it all comes down to the INTENT of the Canadian asking to visit the USA, and the Border Agent’s Judgment, as to whether to let the Canadian in or NOT.
We can stay 183-days without problem. And afterwards, if we want to visit the USA for a week or two here or there, as long as it isn’t extended, it should be no problem.
And we can take as many Day Trips into the USA as we wish.
After spending up to 183-days in the USA, we have to satisfy the Agent at the Border, that we have permanent residency in Canada, that we have Canadian documentation, that we are either retired, or have a Canadian JOB, that we do NOT work in the USA whatsoever, and that we are NOT actually living FULL-TIME in America without a Foreign Residency Visa.
It’s easy for this Border Agent to say all of that . . . but what is my guarantee that he’s right, and that some ZEALOUS IDIOT at the IRS thinks otherwise, since the rules and regulations are written by someone who should be mentally institutionalized?
THIS INSANE OBAMA WHITEHOUSE, STATE DEPARTMENT IRS POLICY will cost American businesses BILLIONS upon BILLIONS of dollars, from the loss of the BEST tourists the American economy could hope for, only because some IRS Bureaucrat thought that STUPIDITY is a good program.
Even now, we have Canadian Snow Birds who RIDE with the Pledge RIDE, who are saying that they cannot join us this year, because that will put them over the TOP of their 183-day allotment.
There are Canadians I know of, who have cancelled trips to the USA, INCLUDING Day Trips, so as NOT to endanger the time they can stay at their Florida Condos over the winter.
OBAMA GIVES AMNESTY to as many as 10-MILLION ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (and maybe more), who will suck-off the American economy, yet, his administration puts the breaks on MILLIONS of Canadians who want NOTHING from the USA but a little sunshine, warm weather, and great tourist getaways.
And this is the man who wants to run the world?
PS – It gets even far more complicated than that . . . if a Canadian spends as much as ONE cumulative year in the USA over a period of THREE years . . . say 3 months, 3 months and 4 months plus a day . . . he or she MUST file IRS Forms.
I wonder why the Governors of States that rely heavily on Canadian Tourists aren’t screaming to the rafters? I CERTAINLY WOULD.
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov
AKA – The Winter Texan