Maintaining your finances after you move
The financial implications of an international property purchase are as significant once you’ve moved in as they were when you were going through the buying process. To help you manage your finances effectively once you embark on your new life in Canada, we’ve highlighted the main issues you will need to address.
To ensure you are aware of all of your tax liabilities, it’s best to consult a qualified tax lawyer and independent financial advisor post-purchase.
Paying Canadian income tax depends upon a number of factors including residency. Others include owning a home in the country, having relatives who live there and Canadian bank accounts. Non-residents – in the country for less than 183 days each year – only pay income tax on money that they have earned in Canada. If you spend more than 183 days a year in the country then you are considered to be a resident of Canada and you can be taxed on money that you earn anywhere in the world.
The majority of people that earn money within Canada don’t need to file a physical tax return because there is a ‘PAYE’ system in place for most workers. Calculating tax in Canada will require careful consideration as there are two systems in place – provincial taxation and federal taxation. If you do need to submit a tax return the two types can be calculated on the one form, unless you are living in Quebec.
Claiming your pension in Canada
Expats in Canada are eligible to access the state pension scheme, known as Old Age Security, once they have lived there for at least 10 years after the age of 18. It is paid at age 65 and is means tested, so you will be expected to outline all sources of income in your application. A further scheme, the Canada Pension Plan – or Quebec Pension Plan if you are living in Quebec – is based on payments made by you and your employer while you are working in Canada.
If you retire to Canada, you will not be eligible to receive any pension from the country itself, so you may need to prove you have enough resources to support yourself while you are there.
You can draw your UK state pension in Canada but your annual increases will be frozen either at the rate it reaches when you move, if you are already drawing it, or at the rate it is when you first qualify – if by that point you are living in Canada.
Knowing how much you will receive each month from a fixed income such as a pension will allow you to effectively plan your monthly expenditure. The most efficient and secure way to transfer your UK pension overseas is to set up a Regular Payments Plan with Smart Currency Exchange. This automated exchange allows you to set up payments to occur as frequently as you wish – whether it’s weekly, monthly or at more irregular intervals. Once you have arranged your schedule, your money will be debited from your account, exchanged into the required currency and sent abroad. As well as offering convenience, the service can provide you with some security too. You can fix the exchange rate, so you know how much money is leaving your account and arriving in another account with every payment – eradicating the risk of currency market volatility impacting your finances.
Paying into your pension
Unless you are retiring to Canada you will probably be working in your new homeland and it’s likely that you will want to continue your pension payments. You can choose to leave your pension in the UK pension plan, with no limit to how much you pay in, although you may miss out on tax relief.
Thankfully, Canadian permanent residents or citizens can move an occupational or private pension to Canada as long as you have not started to receive payments from it already. Your pension benefits can only be transferred to a plan which is recognised by HM Revenue and Customs as a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). This is a tax neutral jurisdiction that allows you to remove your pension scheme from the UK tax net.
A financial institution must apply to have QROPS status, and therefore only a few financial institutions in Canada are currently authorised to make the transfer.
When you are beginning a new life overseas it’s important to make sure you have an idea of how much those regular items/services you need to maintain your life will set you back. Most things in Canada are a little cheaper, according to the thousands of ratings on the website Numbeo.com – general consumer prices are 2 percent lower, rents are 7 percent lower, restaurants are 17 percent cheaper and grocery prices are 20 percent lower.
Thankfully, there are savings to be made elsewhere. You will pay less for “fixed” living costs such as electricity, which is 30% cheaper in Canada compared to the UK. Fuel costs – for both petrol and diesel – are noticeably cheaper, as are other transport costs such as a city train pass and taxi tariff. And perhaps most important of all, a cup of coffee won’t set you back as much in your new homeland.
If you’re transferring funds to Canada to cover your living costs, it’s important to manage these payments effectively. Contact Smart Currency Exchange today for expert guidance around securing the best rates and save yourself money today.
The Canada Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to: