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Am I A Resident Of Canada?

Here is another question about leaving Canada that is related to the How To Become A Non-Resident [1] published earlier this week.

The Question – Am I A Resident of Canada?

I left Canada 25 years ago and travelled around the world before settling in Central America. For the past 7 years, I have been living in and have obtained full residency in Panama.

I have a Canadian passport, a car in Canada as well as a bank account that receives my CPP payment (25% of my CPP is withheld as non-resident tax). But, I do not have any club associations, Canadian drivers license, nor do I receive medical care in Canada.

I plan to travel to Canada 4 or 5 months every year to visit friends and family

Do I HAVE a problem with CRA classifying me as a Canadian taxable resident?  Does my Panama residency help me to be classified as a non-resident of Canada?

When I left Canada 25 years ago, I had little money and never asked permission to leave

How To Tell If You Are A Resident

Whether you are a resident of Canada or not is a question of fact, which is a fancy way of saying that if the facts of your situation make it appear as if you are not a resident of Canada, then you are not a resident of Canada.

The CRA has an interpretation bulletin that explains how to determine if you are a resident of Canada for tax purposes.

Significant Residential Ties

If we briefly look at the situation and refer to the CRA interpretation bulletin, you are a resident of Canada if you have a home here, a spouse in Canada or dependent children in Canada. Since this does not appear to apply, we need to look at other factors.

Visits To Canada

Canada considers you to be a resident of you visit Canada 183 day in a given year. Since your planned visits are 4 or 5 months, you would be under the 183 days. However, you and your spouse should be aware of this rule and avoid being in Canada a total of 183 days in any given year.

Other Ties To Canada

You mention that you have a bank account and a Car in Canada as well as a Canadian passport. Individually these, by themselves, would not lead me to believe you are a resident but combined may be considered so. It appears, based on the facts supplied, that you may not be a resident of Canada.