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Retiring Abroad: How long can a snowbird reside in the U.S.?

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How long can a snowbird reside in the U.S.?

Retired Canadians love to spend time south of the border during our cold winters.  Popular U.S. retirement locations range from Hawaii to Arizona to Florida.

However, we have to be careful not to be deemed a U.S. resident for tax purposes.  Normally, Canadian snowbirds keep track of the days they spend in the U.S. each year by adhering to what is called the Substantial Presence Test.  This is calculated by adding the amount of days in the current year plus 1/3 of last year’s days and 1/6 of the previous year’s days.  This is an important way of tracking your days in the U.S. to ensure you do not exceed their limit and get caught up in the IRS net.

However, what many Canadians don’t realize is that even if they do go over that calculated maximum, it doesn’t automatically make them a U.S. resident for tax purposes.  There is actually a form that snowbirds can fill out on a yearly basis to proactively demonstrate that they have closer ties to Canada and therefore are not a U.S. resident.  Even in this case, however, one must not stay for more than 182 days in a given year.

This article (click here) is a bit dated, but still has excellent information on this topic.