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Canadians Living Abroad Empty Canadians Living Abroad

Post by DaveP on Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:55 am


Voting by Canadians living abroad

I'm a Canadian living abroad. How do I vote?
Who is exempt from the five-year limit on voting by Canadians living abroad?
How can I prove I am exempt from the five-year limit?
I live abroad. What is my Canadian address for voting purposes?
I am already listed in the International Register of Electors. What should I do?
I thought a court struck down the "five-year rule." What happened?
I live abroad and am not eligible to vote by mail. How can I vote?
Where do I get more information on registration and voting by Canadians living abroad?

I'm a Canadian living abroad. How do I vote?

If you live outside Canada, you can apply now to vote by mail if you:

are a Canadian citizen
will be 18 or older on election day
have lived in Canada at some point in your life
intend to move back to Canada to reside, and
have lived outside Canada for less than five consecutive years or are exempt from the five-year limit

If we accept your application, we will add your name to the International Register of Electors and send you a special ballot voting kit.

If you are not eligible to vote by mail, you can vote in person at an advance poll or on election day – learn more.
Who is exempt from the five-year limit on voting by Canadians living abroad?

You are exempt from the five-year limit if you are:

employed outside Canada in the federal public administration or the public service of a province,
employed outside Canada by an international organization of which Canada is a member and to which Canada contributes, or
living with an elector employed as described above, or with a member of the Canadian Forces posted outside Canada, or with a person employed outside Canada by the Canadian Forces as a teacher or as administrative support staff in a Canadian Forces school

How can I prove I am exempt from the five-year limit?

If you are exempt from the five-year limit based on where you or someone you live with is employed (see list above), you must provide proof of employment for yourself or for that elector.

For example, provide a copy, photo or scan of a current:

Canadian diplomatic passport
employee identification card, or
document on the organization's letterhead, showing the employee's name and employment status, signed by an authorized official of the organization

I live abroad and I am voting by special ballot. What is my Canadian address for voting purposes?

If you are voting by mail-in special ballot, your Canadian address for voting purposes is the address in Canada where your vote will count. You will vote for a candidate in the riding that contains this address.

Your address for voting purposes is:

the last address you had before leaving Canada, or
the address in Canada of:
your spouse or common-law partner
a relative of yourself, of your spouse or of your common-law partner
a person you are a dependant of, or
a person you would live with if you were not living outside Canada

This address cannot be changed after your name is added to the International Register of Electors.
I am already listed in the International Register of Electors. What should I do?

If your file is in order, we put your special ballot voting kit in the mail within days of the election call. Watch your mail, then mark and return your ballot as soon as possible.

If we sent you a letter asking you to supply your date of return or proof of exemption from the five-year limit, you must submit the requested information or proof before we send you a special ballot. We will not send you a special ballot until we get the requested information or proof.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

I thought a court struck down the "five-year rule." What happened?

In May 2014, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice struck down the Canada Elections Act provisions on the intent to return to reside in Canada and the five-year limit. Although it was a decision of an Ontario court, as is its practice, Elections Canada stopped applying those provisions across Canada.

However, on July 20, 2015, the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the lower court decision, reinstating these provisions. Elections Canada must administer the Canada Elections Act as enacted by Parliament and interpreted by the courts. We are implementing the court ruling immediately, as required.
I live abroad and am not eligible to vote by mail. How can I vote?

You can register and vote in person at an advance or election day polling place.
Get the location and hours of the advance and election day polling place assigned to your Canadian address for voting purposes.
You must prove your identity and this address – see the list of accepted proof of identity and address.

Where do I get more information on registration and voting by Canadians living abroad?

Please contact Elections Canada's Special Voting Rules Service Centre:

By phone:

613-949-7502 (collect calls are accepted)
1-866-222-2565 toll-free in Canada and the United States
001-800-514-6868 toll-free in Mexico
TTY 1-800-361-8935 toll-free in Canada and the United States

By e-mail : SVRENQ@elections.ca
Please note that Elections Canada does not offer a secure network for e-mail transmissions.

By fax:
1-613-998-8393, from anywhere in the world,
1-800-363-4796, toll-free in Canada and the United States

By mail:
Elections Canada
Special Voting Rules
440 Coventry Road
P.O. Box 9830 Station T
Ottawa, ON, K1G 5W7
Canada
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Post by SunFan on Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:14 am

Sounds like taxation without representation.

Wasn't there a fuss about that somewhere, a few hundred years ago??

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Post by DaveP on Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:31 am

In Boston I think
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Post by motherofburros on Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:51 am

SunFan wrote:Sounds like taxation without representation.

Wasn't there a fuss about that somewhere, a few hundred years ago??

SunFan

I think only Americans have to pay income tax no matter where in the world they live. I suppose you feel it is worth it for the right to vote??

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Post by DaveP on Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:29 am

motherofburros wrote:
SunFan wrote:Sounds like taxation without representation.

Wasn't there a fuss about that somewhere, a few hundred years ago??

SunFan

I think only Americans have to pay income tax no matter where in the world they live. I suppose you feel it is worth it for the right to vote??

Canadian of retirement age with pensions paid from Canada pay tax to Canada no matter where in the world they live.
As SunFan noted it is taxation without representation
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Post by Traveller on Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:52 am

Although the reinstatement of the non-resident voting restrictions might ruffle the feathers of the affected ex-pats, I can't see it being a big deal in the upcoming election.

About taxes: Canadians pay tax to Canada on income that is earned in Canada, including pension income. The tax rates are reduced if a Canadian declares non-residency. I haven't heard a lot of Canadians hollering about the long arm of the CRA (Canada's IRS). What's your stake in this issue, Dave P?
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Post by newinajijic on Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:01 pm

I doubt if many retired Canadians pay much income tax to Canada. And even if one does is it not a small price to pay knowing your country is always there for you.

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Post by CanuckBob on Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:22 pm

If they are always there for us then why do we get kicked off our provincial healthcare plans even though we do still pay taxes? What else are they providing us expats for our tax dollars? Nothing that I am aware of.
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Post by SunFan on Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:35 pm

Now Bob; you know we get Consular services. Haven't you been to the annual Canadian Thanksgiving dinner Lakeside where our Consul General and aids show up to give a speech and have a free dinner. What an ingrate you are.

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Post by DaveP on Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:06 pm

Traveller wrote:Although the reinstatement of the non-resident voting restrictions might ruffle the feathers of the affected ex-pats, I can't see it being a big deal in the upcoming election.

About taxes: Canadians pay tax to Canada on income that is earned in Canada, including pension income. The tax rates are reduced if a Canadian declares non-residency. I haven't heard a lot of Canadians hollering about the long arm of the CRA (Canada's IRS). What's your stake in this issue, Dave P?

Why should I have a stake in this? I merely posted the why's and wherefores for voting rights for non-resident Canadians as a service to those Canadians who may not be aware that they might be eligible to vote if they wish.

I also agreed with SunFan's comment that is is taxation without representation. It is funny how history repeats itself.

Having been here long enough I am not eligible to vote and I am not sure that I would if I were.
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Post by CanuckBob on Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:12 pm

SunFan wrote:Now Bob; you know we get Consular services. Haven't you been to the annual Canadian Thanksgiving dinner Lakeside where our Consul General and aids show up to give a speech and have a free dinner. What an ingrate you are.

SunFan

Free dinner??? You must be that guy that ran out the back door without paying last year. They are looking for you. I'm waiting until they up the reward money to $10 CDN.

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Post by Zedinmexico on Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:39 pm

motherofburros wrote:
SunFan wrote:Sounds like taxation without representation.


SunFan

I think only Americans have to pay income tax no matter where in the world they live.


Yes but one gets to deduct taxes paid in mexico for earned income (job) on your US taxes up to a certain level. Unearned income (interest) is fully taxed in both countries.

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Post by eagles100 on Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:15 am

We're not eligible for medicare because it is provincial and as non-residents of Canada, we only pay federal tax.

CanuckBob wrote:If they are always there for us then why do we get kicked off our provincial healthcare plans even though we do still pay taxes? What else are they providing us expats for our tax dollars? Nothing that I am aware of.
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Post by conejorapido on Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:10 am

CanuckBob wrote:If they are always there for us then why do we get kicked off our provincial healthcare plans even though we do still pay taxes? What else are they providing us expats for our tax dollars? Nothing that I am aware of.

If you're an expat file a non resident declaration and don't pay taxes in Canada except for what they withhold from your CPP and OAP payments. To me an expat is someone who is a declared non resident.

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Post by Ezzie on Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:14 am

From a Canadian tax perspective, it is still unclear to me at which income level (from Canadian sources) it is beneficial to declare non-residency.  Correct me if I am wrong but for anyone with a total income of under about $30k CDN/yr. it might be better to file a residency tax return since there are more deductions from income available.  As a non-resident, it seems that you are taxed a flat rate of 15% on all income from Canadian sources (pensions, investments).

I realize, of course, that this doesn't affect very many Canadians here because most are extremely wealthy (LOL)!!!

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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:34 am

From a tax perspective it is better for us to remain as a residents. Our tax rate is far below 15%. Talk with a good tax man who has lots of experience with expats.
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Post by eagles100 on Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:35 am

Good point.
Each individual's/couple's financial situation is unique. I would guess that the high gainers would benefit greatly from claiming non-residency. The lower middle class are the ones who would have to make a judgment call.
Hubby and I don't make enough to pay tax so it wouldn't matter either way but we have declared ourselves non-residents.

Let's say a high-earning retired couple, living in Canada, make $150,000 between both individuals and after deductions, they pay 25%, that's a total of $37,500 income tax paid. Not everyone will have such high deductions though so could pay upward of 30+ percent.
If that same couple were non-residents of Canada, living in Mexico, they would pay a flat rate of 15% so a total of $22,500.
There is a savings of $12,500 right out the gate. That doesn't include the savings of the lower cost of living here.

Ezzie wrote:From a Canadian tax perspective, it is still unclear to me at which income level (from Canadian sources) it is beneficial to declare non-residency.  Correct me if I am wrong but for anyone with a total income of under about $30k CDN/yr. it might be better to file a residency tax return since there are more deductions from income available.  As a non-resident, it seems that you are taxed a flat rate of 15% on all income from Canadian sources (pensions, investments).

I realize, of course, that this doesn't affect very many Canadians here because most are extremely wealthy (LOL)!!!
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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:38 am

Then on the other side of that coin, there are those who can live down here near personal exemption ($11,500 each per year) and pay nearly 0% taxes if a resisdent. In fact they get a tax refund of any taxes that were held back from RRSP withdrawal's or CPP payments, and a GST rebate.
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Post by eagles100 on Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:44 am

We earn below personal exemption so pay 0% tax and no longer have to report.
Can a Canadian get paid GST cheques if living in Mexico?

CanuckBob wrote:Then on the other side of that coin, there are those who can live down here near personal exemption ($11,500 each per year) and pay nearly 0% taxes if a resisdent. In fact they get a tax refund of any taxes that were held back from RRSP withdrawal's or CPP payments, and a GST rebate.
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Post by Ezzie on Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:51 am

If you are retaining your Canadian residency status and are low income, yes, you qualify for the GST rebate cheques.

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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:31 am

eagles100 wrote:We earn below personal exemption so pay 0% tax and no longer have to report.
Can a Canadian get paid GST cheques if living in Mexico?

CanuckBob wrote:Then on the other side of that coin, there are those who can live down here near personal exemption ($11,500 each per year) and pay nearly 0% taxes if a resisdent. In fact they get a tax refund of any taxes that were held back from RRSP withdrawal's or CPP payments, and a GST rebate.

If you are signed up with the CRA for direct deposit any refunds, including GST rebates, will be direct deposited into your account.
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Post by CanuckBob on Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:33 am

eagles100 wrote:We earn below personal exemption so pay 0% tax and no longer have to report.
Can a Canadian get paid GST cheques if living in Mexico?

CanuckBob wrote:Then on the other side of that coin, there are those who can live down here near personal exemption ($11,500 each per year) and pay nearly 0% taxes if a resisdent. In fact they get a tax refund of any taxes that were held back from RRSP withdrawal's or CPP payments, and a GST rebate.

Doesn't a "resident" have to report at least once every 5 years no matter what they earn?
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Post by Ezzie on Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:33 pm

As far as I know Bob, a "resident" is expected to file annually by April 30th of the following year regardless of income. I believe that "non-residents" have until June 30th to file but I don't know if they have to do it annually.

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Post by DaveP on Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:11 pm

Do you have to file a return?

You must file a return for 2014 if any of the following situations apply:

   You have to pay tax for 2014.

   We sent you a request to file a return.

   You and your spouse or common-law partner elected to split pension income for 2014. See lines 115, 116, 129, and 210.

   You received working income tax benefit (WITB) advance payments in 2014.

   You disposed of capital property in 2014 (for example, if you sold real estate or shares) or you realized a taxable capital gain (for example, if a mutual fund or trust attributed amounts to you, or you are reporting a capital gains reserve you claimed on your 2013 return).

   You have to repay any of your old age security or employment insurance benefits. See line 235.

   You have not repaid all amounts withdrawn from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) under the Home Buyers’ Plan or the Lifelong Learning Plan. For more information, go to Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) or see Guide RC4112, Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) or

   You have to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). This can apply if, for 2014, the total of your net self-employment income and pensionable employment income is more than $3,500. See line 222.

   You are paying employment insurance premiums on self-employment and other eligible earnings. See lines 317 and 430.

Even if none of these requirements apply, you can file a return if any of the following situations apply:

   You want to claim a refund.

   You want to claim the WITB for 2014.

   You want the GST/HST credit (including any related provincial credits). For example, you may be eligible if you turn 19 before April 2016.

   You or your spouse or common-law partner want to begin or continue receiving Canada child tax benefit payments, including related provincial or territorial benefit payments.

   You have incurred a non-capital loss (see line 236) in 2014 that you want to be able to apply in other years.

   You want to carry forward or transfer the unused part of your tuition, education, and textbook amounts (see line 323).

   You want to report income for which you could contribute to an RRSP and/or a pooled registered pension plan (PRPP) to keep your RRSP/PRPP deduction limit for future years current.

   You want to carry forward the unused investment tax credit on expenditures you incurred during the current year (see line 412).

   You receive the guaranteed income supplement or allowance benefits under the old age security program. You can usually renew your benefit by filing your return by April 30. If you choose not to file a return, you will have to complete a renewal form. This form is available from Service Canada.

Extracted from the CRA website
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Post by David on Fri Oct 02, 2015 7:10 pm

This topic always entertains me since, as a US Citizen, we must file and pay US Income Tax regardless of our expat status. We get nothing and we lose Medicare. Canadians at least have options, we have none.
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