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Old 07-25-2014, 09:30 AM   #1
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Day in US & Days in BC

My wife and I are recently retired and planning to do extensive travel over the next few years, much of it in the US. There are a couple of "Days In" issues that I would appreciate comments and suggestions on.

(1) The US limits the number of days a visitor can stay to 180 days in any 12-consecutive month period.

(2) BC, my province of residence, limits the time you can be out of country and still qualify for MSP (Medical Services Plan) to 7 months.

How do you keep track of these? I don't expect the BC MSP limitation to be a restriction other than from a records keeping standpoint.

For now, I have created a spreadsheet that tracks dates and locations to provide a running total of US days in the past 365 but I am wondering if there is a better way. We'll likely be close to the max US days this year as well as the next two and its complicated by including even a short trip across the line to get gas, something we do often as we live only 28 block north of the border.
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:06 AM   #2
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I was under the impression that a "day in" was only counted if you stayed overnight, so I wouldn't expect a quick dash across to Blaine for gas and back again to count. Perhaps you could ask one of the officials at the border for clarification next time.
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Old 07-25-2014, 12:00 PM   #3
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I was under the impression that a "day in" was only counted if you stayed overnight, so I wouldn't expect a quick dash across to Blaine for gas and back again to count. Perhaps you could ask one of the officials at the border for clarification next time.
The process and rules are very complicated. You must be aware of not only the immigration aspect but also the tax implications.

<copied from legal website: http://www.lexology.com/>
The second part of the “180-day rule” relates to U.S. taxes. Too much time in the United States can cause a Canadian visitor to be deemed a resident for U.S. federal income tax purposes, requiring that person to file a U.S. income tax return and report all worldwide income even if there is no earned income in the United States or any other activity that would require a U.S. tax filing. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses a “substantial presence” test to determine if someone is a resident for U.S. federal income tax purposes in a given calendar year. The “substantial presence” test is a mechanical formula based solely on the number of days on which an individual is present in the United States. The formula is applied to make a determination each calendar year. To be classified as a U.S. resident under the substantial presence test for a particular year, an individual must be physically present in the United States on at least 31 days of the current calendar year, and the sum of the following must equal 183 or more days: 1) all days in the United States in the current year, plus 2) one-third of the days in the immediately preceding year, plus 3) one-sixth of the days in the second preceding year.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:08 PM   #4
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I keep track of my days on paper in our passport holder. You may need to fill out form 8040 "Closer Connection Exception Statement for Aliens". The General Instructions for that form states you do not need to count days of presence....Days you were in the United States for less than 24 hours when you were traveling between two places outside the United States. Can you assume then, when you go to get gas, that you are traveling between two places outside the US? Should you cross at one border crossing and return by another?
This was from the 2012 form, so do not know if it has changed or whether they have clarified the item. It will be interesting to hear what others think.
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:50 AM   #5
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I keep track of my days on paper in our passport holder. You may need to fill out form 8040 "Closer Connection Exception Statement for Aliens". The General Instructions for that form states you do not need to count days of presence....Days you were in the United States for less than 24 hours when you were traveling between two places outside the United States. Can you assume then, when you go to get gas, that you are traveling between two places outside the US? Should you cross at one border crossing and return by another?
This was from the 2012 form, so do not know if it has changed or whether they have clarified the item. It will be interesting to hear what others think.
Thanks for the info Peterrr. I had not heard of this form before but unfortunately it does not look like it will work for us. It required a "days in US" number for each of the past three years and I had not been tracking it that far back. Our current need will likely be for the next 3 years only and then we'll be spending much less time in the US.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:22 PM   #6
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The process and rules are very complicated. You must be aware of not only the immigration aspect but also the tax implications.

<copied from legal website: http://www.lexology.com/>
The second part of the “180-day rule” relates to U.S. taxes. Too much time in the United States can cause a Canadian visitor to be deemed a resident for U.S. federal income tax purposes, requiring that person to file a U.S. income tax return and report all worldwide income even if there is no earned income in the United States or any other activity that would require a U.S. tax filing. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses a “substantial presence” test to determine if someone is a resident for U.S. federal income tax purposes in a given calendar year. The “substantial presence” test is a mechanical formula based solely on the number of days on which an individual is present in the United States. The formula is applied to make a determination each calendar year. To be classified as a U.S. resident under the substantial presence test for a particular year, an individual must be physically present in the United States on at least 31 days of the current calendar year, and the sum of the following must equal 183 or more days: 1) all days in the United States in the current year, plus 2) one-third of the days in the immediately preceding year, plus 3) one-sixth of the days in the second preceding year.
So if I read this correctly a Canandian can spend six months one year, four months the second year but only 3.6 months the third year? For the forth year they can spend 4.1 months. They can never again spend six months unless they skip three consecutive years. What? I must be mistaken somewhere!
Only our congress (US) could take something that should be simple and complicate it beyond recognition.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:42 PM   #7
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A little confusing, isn't it?

I have created an Excel spreadsheet that tracks my location by day, starting about a month ago. Unfortunately I have not been tracking my days in the US in prior years so it's impossible for me to be fully aware of my compliance so I guess I'll have to take the ostrich approach and simply ignore it for now. In truth, my US days have been limited in the past years to 'maybe' a couple of months per year.

It's regulation like this that make me recall the saying; "Thank God we're not getting all the government we're paying for."
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:52 PM   #8
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I would go ask customs. Given the computer network they have I assume they have a number. What I am not sure is whether or not they will share the information. It can't hurt to go some time when they are not busy and ask. Worst they will do is tell you to go away. Best thing is that they will tell you what you need to know from their perspective.
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:04 PM   #9
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Recent changes to legislation requires that Canadian passports are swiped on BOTH sides of the border. So, now both sides will know, with a high degree of accuracy, exactly how many days you have spent in the US. So, be careful when you declare the number.

Furthermore, every time you cross, whether you stay for an hour to get gas, or you are picking up groceries and return later the same day, it counts as 1 day. You might as well make a day of it and do all your shopping. Anytime you touch US soil, you start counting days until you return. Same day return = 1 day.
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:16 PM   #10
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is this just for canadians ???? we live overseas and store our motorhome
in the us sometimes we fly up for 30 sometimes 90 days never heard of
anything like this ????
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:26 PM   #11
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is this just for canadians ???? we live overseas and store our motorhome
in the us sometimes we fly up for 30 sometimes 90 days never heard of
anything like this ????
Canadians are permitted up 182 days per 12 consecutive months.

Nationals of other countries, 90 days per 12 consecutive months.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JRMEDPHYS View Post
Recent changes to legislation requires that Canadian passports are swiped on BOTH sides of the border. So, now both sides will know, with a high degree of accuracy, exactly how many days you have spent in the US. So, be careful when you declare the number.

Furthermore, every time you cross, whether you stay for an hour to get gas, or you are picking up groceries and return later the same day, it counts as 1 day. You might as well make a day of it and do all your shopping. Anytime you touch US soil, you start counting days until you return. Same day return = 1 day.
They have been scanning the passports on both sides but only on entry into the country. What changed was in June of this year the Canadian and US governments were scheduled to start exchanging the information. One of the problems I see though with the exchange, is there was no mention of exchange of information with Mexico. So, for example I cross the border into the US on day 1. The US scan my passport on entry into the US. I then drive south and on Day 30 cross into Mexico which does not scan my passport. On Day 30 I return from Mexico and the US scans my passport for entry to the US. How would the US/Canada know how many days I was in the US? This is where I see the reference to the declaration on the form 8840.

JRMEDPHYS. As pointed out earlier the less then 24 hours(as per General Instructions of Form 8840) could not be counted as a day, if the travel is between two places outside of the US. So if I fly to Mexico, with a flight from Ottawa to Chicago then to Cancun, it would not count. If I go for gas in the US, cross at Prescott ON(Ogdensburg NY) and return by Cornwall ON ( Massena NY), I could say it also does not count. Thats my thoughts.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:31 AM   #13
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Be careful...

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Originally Posted by Peterrrr View Post
If I go for gas in the US, cross at Prescott ON(Ogdensburg NY) and return by Cornwall ON ( Massena NY), I could say it also does not count. Thats my thoughts.
I agree with your logic, that it *may* be difficult for them to track you when you bring Mexico and flights into the discussion. Your gedenkenexperiment requires a lot of forethought, time, money and grief that I honestly hope you wouldn't consider.

Crossing at two different land border crossings that close *may* be another. I am not 100%. Personally, If I was flirting with the 182 day time limit rule, I would err on the side of caution. The wrong guard at the wrong time in the right location could ruin your day (and several days beyond that).
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:17 AM   #14
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I would like to make a small point for those who choose to play around the edge of the rules and look at things based upon their personal opinion or interpretation of the rules.

Only one "opinion" or "interpretation" is important or even relevant when crossing the border and that is the opinion and interpretation of the officer in the border crossing booth. Your's don't count.
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