Non-Resident Owing Canadian Taxes

by Tax Guy - Burlington Accountant on January 7, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post

Question: “I am a Canadian citizen. I moved away from Canada in 2002.  However, in 2003, I received a Notice of Reassessment for a tax transaction done in 1999. I fought the issue and due to various delays from CRA, the case was not settled until fall 2008. The result was I owed some back taxes.

My question is what are the consequences if I do not pay the outstanding amount? Do I lose my Canadian citizenship?  Does my Canadian passport get seized at the border when I go back to visit family in Canada? Do I get put in jail if I try to go back to Canada?

I currently still live outside Canada and have no assets in Canada.

I would appreciate help in pointing me in a direction to research this further.”

I have only heard of violent criminals having their citizenship stripped. In my opinion you should have no issues with your passport or citizenship (but keep in mind I’m not a legal immigration expert. I am an accountant).

Your issues appears to be a matter of collection. The CRA may seize property you may still own personally in Canada (homes, business assets and bank accounts). Baring that, the CRA may have recourse to collect under the tax treaty with the country you are resident in and if so, that country may collect. The CRA may initiate collection proceedings in Canada and then seek enforcement in the country your are resident.

Your best bet is to talk to a Canadian tax expert who knows international tax collection.

About The Tax Guy...

Dean Paley CGA CFP is a Burlington accountant and financial planner who services individuals and business owners locally, nationally and internationally. Dean has appeared in the National Post, Toronto Star and Metro News.

To find out more, visit Dean's website Dean Paley CGA CFP or connect via Twitter @DeanPaleyCGACFP.

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