Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

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kcowan
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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by kcowan » 06 Oct 2016 15:15

Little Al wrote:It's easy enough to pay $50-60 and do this locally. Not to mention Canadian plan where it takes 5-6 days to get Physician's appointment and 5-6 months for Cardio.
Yes the wait time for specialists is one day, same as for MRI/Catscan in Mexico. And the doctors give you their cell phone number!
For the fun of it...Keith

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by AltaRed » 06 Oct 2016 15:39

Little Al wrote:
AltaRed wrote: Unless you have inside information, the estimates appear to come from the gov't itself per the link provided by the OP.
These are official rates by CRA, not estimates. Max GIS is ~$800 per single person, this year new govt increased it to (I think) $900. CTB is ~$300 per child.
The amount of leakage is an estimate. No way of knowing yet without having factual data on who is scamming the gov't now. It is not relevant how much GIS is, or CTB. It is the numbers of people doing it that creates the leakage and that is an unknown until the facts are in (by keeping track of when people leave the country and when they return). What part of that is hard to understand?
AltaRed wrote:Few low income seniors have the resources to snowbird, although I personally know a senior couple that lives 6 months in the Phillipines and 6 months in Canada, partly because of family but primarily due to inexpensive living. If you follow International Living at all, one can see a number of inexpensive places to live, including Ecuador et al
Snowbird is somebody heading South,
Which is what I said. Out of the snow to somewhere warm. It is well known that many Canadians go to a number of countries to escape our winters.
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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by SQRT » 06 Oct 2016 16:14

Little Al wrote:
Btw, what happened to that year-old draft regarding tracking? I saw a recent US-CAN agreement on tracking 3-rd country citizens (including those with PR status in CAN or US), but nothing on US-CAN citizens.
Not sure if you know but Canada and US currently track each other's citizens back and forth and share the data with each other. You can find out what they have in the internet by putting your passport number in. Pretty accurate.

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by twa2w » 07 Oct 2016 10:19

SQRT wrote:
Little Al wrote:
Btw, what happened to that year-old draft regarding tracking? I saw a recent US-CAN agreement on tracking 3-rd country citizens (including those with PR status in CAN or US), but nothing on US-CAN citizens.
Not sure if you know but Canada and US currently track each other's citizens back and forth and share the data with each other. You can find out what they have in the internet by putting your passport number in. Pretty accurate.
I tried this for my passport and my son's as we have been in and out of the USA a number of tmes this year. About 50% accurate for us. Some trips didn't show at all. One trip with the two of us showed one of us but not the other. One trip showed only one way.
Still a work in progress I guess and subject to scanning equipment being online in remote areas.

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by gobsmack » 07 Oct 2016 10:30

twa2w wrote:One trip showed only one way...
You may want to call them back about that one. I would be concerned about them thinking that I might have overstayed. A similar situation happened to a friend of mine and it created all sorts of problems for him when he tried to get back in the US on a TN visa.

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by twa2w » 07 Oct 2016 10:37

gobsmack wrote:
twa2w wrote:One trip showed only one way...
You may want to call them back about that one. I would be concerned about them thinking that I might have overstayed. A similar situation happened to a friend of mine and it created all sorts of problems for him when he tried to get back in the US on a TN visa.
Not too worried. It didn't show me entering the US but showed me coming back. There were prior and subsequent trips that showed so not difgicult to prove my where abouts.
But I can see how it could cause a priblem for some.

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by Little Al » 07 Oct 2016 18:27

AltaRed wrote:
Little Al wrote:
AltaRed wrote: Unless you have inside information, the estimates appear to come from the gov't itself per the link provided by the OP.
These are official rates by CRA, not estimates. Max GIS is ~$800 per single person, this year new govt increased it to (I think) $900. CTB is ~$300 per child.
The amount of leakage is an estimate. No way of knowing yet without having factual data on who is scamming the gov't now. It is not relevant how much GIS is, or CTB. It is the numbers of people doing it that creates the leakage and that is an unknown until the facts are in (by keeping track of when people leave the country and when they return).
Their numbers are hard to understand. $125-250 millions of savings in CTB against $48 millions in "old age security" - whatever they mean by that.

GIS+OAS per person is 5 times CTB per child. Even with their lower estimate of 125, and with most people getting less than maximum GIS+OAS it's still a few times more than 48, i.e. they assume the number of people cheating on CTB is several times higher than those cheating on OAS/GIS. Even with wave of 3rd world immigrants with more than one child per family the number is still odd.

They will have a hard time getting those 125-250 mils of CTB. I never collected CTB, but, to my best knowledge, this benefit doesn't require you to be physically present in Canada most of the year or limit your trips to less than 183 days in row. It only requires you to be "tax resident" - which mostly means having some dwelling and staying there part of the year. The full list of requirements defining a tax resident can be found in CRA bulletin on residential ties. Those requirements are rather unclear.

Again, going after low-income "long term snowbirds" that are absent most of the year and still collect GIS, would be a lame move. I only hope our govt is not THAT stupid. It's cheaper to keep low-income retirees abroad even if it means paying them GIS.
Checking OAS entitlement, i.e. the number of years that you resided in Canada before the age 65 - this I can understand, though here we are back to the same unclear definition of "residency".

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by Little Al » 07 Oct 2016 20:25

SQRT wrote: Not sure if you know but Canada and US currently track each other's citizens back and forth and share the data with each other. You can find out what they have in the internet by putting your passport number in. Pretty accurate.
Link please?
I know there is I94 webpage, it didn't have any my trips listed when I entered passport #.

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by SQRT » 08 Oct 2016 09:40

Little Al wrote:
SQRT wrote: Not sure if you know but Canada and US currently track each other's citizens back and forth and share the data with each other. You can find out what they have in the internet by putting your passport number in. Pretty accurate.
Link please?
I know there is I94 webpage, it didn't have any my trips listed when I entered passport #.
My link doesn't seem to be working at the moment. Getting error messages. Try to find a link through google.

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by kcowan » 08 Oct 2016 10:46

For the fun of it...Keith

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by AltaRed » 08 Oct 2016 11:54

Provided it is not costly to collect, I am all for collecting data to prevent/minimize the cons cheating on their benefits. Heaven knows our tax money is being thrown around indiscriminately already, so the more we can catch tax/benefit cheats the better.

I still disagree with Little Al on his point of focus. I suspect a number of our dual national families spend enough time out of country so as to be taking undue advantage of our generous social programs such as CTB. As an example, Lebanese/Palestinian-Canadian dual nationals that have a passport of convenience, but stay in Palestine...until the 'heat is on'. The latest example of a family stuck in the Gaza strip might be yet another glowing example of manipulation of the system. I have no sympathy.
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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by newguy » 08 Oct 2016 13:57

AltaRed wrote:I still disagree with Little Al on his point of focus.
As I see it his focus, and mine, is on saving money by encouraging low income Canadians on GIS to leave and pay their own medical costs somewhere cheaper. Not paying GIS is the main reason most of them stay. They're all old and that's when most health care resources are used.

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by AltaRed » 08 Oct 2016 14:07

newguy wrote:
AltaRed wrote:I still disagree with Little Al on his point of focus.
As I see it his focus, and mine, is on saving money by encouraging low income Canadians on GIS to leave and pay their own medical costs somewhere cheaper. Not paying GIS is the main reason most of them stay. They're all old and that's when most health care resources are used.

newguy
I don't disagree with that. That is to our advantage if indeed, GIS recipients with health issues are out-of-country. I doubt it though. Anyone senior I know (and not just low income ones) with a health issue sticks close to home.

What I mostly disagree with is the assertion that most of the tax leakage is GIS simply because it is a bigger number than CTB. It is not the size of the benefit that is the issue. It is the numbers of people with CTB that are apparently scamming the system. C'est la vie though. This debate has worn thin.
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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by Little Al » 08 Oct 2016 14:56

AltaRed wrote:What I mostly disagree with is the assertion that most of the tax leakage is GIS simply because it is a bigger number than CTB. It is not the size of the benefit that is the issue. It is the numbers of people with CTB that are apparently scamming the system. C'est la vie though. This debate has worn thin.
There was no assertion made that most of tax leakage is GIS. There was, however, an objection to AltaRed statement that this new initiative doesn't have anything to do with snowbirds, or that seniors with GIS don't have resources to spend winters (or more than just winters) in some place warm.

We are shooting in the dark as to the main purpose(s) of CRA here. My reasons to doubt that their estimates reflect their goals or that those goals are easily achievable (or worth the expense) I already wrote earlier.
Last edited by Little Al on 08 Oct 2016 15:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by Little Al » 08 Oct 2016 15:03

newguy wrote:As I see it his focus, and mine, is on saving money by encouraging low income Canadians on GIS to leave and pay their own medical costs somewhere cheaper. Not paying GIS is the main reason most of them stay. They're all old and that's when most health care resources are used.
I doubt. My observation has been that most snowbirds, be it on or off GIS, stay home 6 months a year because they are afraid to lose provincial medical. Especially snowbirds in the US - which I tend to think represent the majority of snowbirds.

However, some snowbirds (hard to tell how many) should better be paid GIS beyond 6 months as this would encourage them to spend more time abroad and ease the load on healthcare system. When your budget is thin - for GIS recipient it probably is - extra 5-6 thousand bucks a year could entice you to stay home. You won't gain much - if any at all, because your expenses will increase, and the govt will likely lose.

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Re: Taxman clamps down on snowbirds heading south, hopes to save millions

Post by Little Al » 10 Oct 2016 23:51

Just a follow-up.
Out of boredom have been reading OAS/GIS decisions of ESD Tribunal. What a read :) ...

Other than naive cheats trying to get 2 single rates vs (lower) marriage couple rate,or widows "forgetting" that DH has been long gone, or people applying for OAS/GIS 2 years after they've become eligible (only 1 year back-pay is allowed), and then being dumb enough to try and appeal it - other cases are fewer but beefier.

Mostly, those other cases are people who (as per ESD) don't qualify for OAS at all because he/she didn't meet the requirement of minimum 10 years of residence - and then he/she doesn't qualify for GIS as well. Then there is enough incentive for govt to do something about it. Most decisions hold after all the appeals - if they even allow appeal, which they don't always do. Orders to repay 60-80K received in 5-10 years are reality, though all such appellants were not really poor.

General impression - the Big Brother is after low-hanging apples.

There isn't much consistency in how they apply the law. Or the law itself isn't articulate enough. Findings of investigators (hired by ESD ministry) can be ignored if it contradicts the ESD interests, having property and living there 5-6 months a year might not be enough to be considered ordinarily residing, absences longer than a year might not be counted against you and so on.

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