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Thread: Possible move to New Zealand/Canada tax implications

  1. #1
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    Default Possible move to New Zealand/Canada tax implications

    Hi there,

    I was hoping somebody could shed a bit of light on this through any experience. I currently reside in Canada, and I have an opportunity to move to New Zealand for work. While the opportunity to work/live in NZ excites me, I'm finding that I may have a sticky tax situation here in Canada. I had a few questions I wanted to ask including:

    1) Capital gains tax/options: I currently have a couple of registered savings/retirement accounts (maxed out RSP/TFSA), along with an employer pension. I get that these are exempt from any 'departure' capital gains tax in Canada. However, I have most of my savings are in non-registered accounts, largely stocks in Canadian and US companies. Apparently this account would not be exempt from taxes. I've done some eyeball math and my tax penalty if I did a deemed disposition could be around $50000. With the goal of an early retirement within 5 years, I am not prepared to part with that kind of $$ and disrupt the portfolio especially if the goal at this time is to return to Canada. I have heard that there is a deferral/security option instead of paying the tax but can never get through at CRA to confirm this and how it works. Would anyone know how this option might work and its advantages/disadvantages?

    2) Dividend taxes: I believe in NZ there is a 4 year global dividend tax holiday that you can request. And I have also heard that Canada will impose a non-resident withholding tax on dividends. So, on my US investments, the overall withholding tax would be something like 30% and for Canada, 15%. Would anyone know if you can claim these if you are a tax resident of NZ?

    3) Online trading accounts. Much like Canada Revenue, I can't get a clear answer on this. I have my accounts through TD Direct Investing here in Canada. While I understand that as a non-resident of Canada, I cannot contribute to RSP and TFSA but what is not clear is whether I can continue to maintain and trade within these accounts while I am away. I have heard the US is much more restrictive on this, but I'm not sure about the rest of the world/New Zealand.

    I haven't been able to find an accountant who knows this stuff so if anyone has a recommendation in the Edmonton area, it would be greatly appreciated! Any insights are much appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
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    Pleaser refer to this thread as it basically answers most of your questions.

    https://www.enz.org/forum/showthread.php?t=55573

    There are plenty of tax accountants here in NZ that specialise in overseas migrant tax issues. But be prepared to pay a hefty price as they all feel it's a right to charge as much as they can to those that have $. i'll try to explain the highliners as short as possible.

    As I explained in that other thread, the short answer is you're best to sell EVERYTHING UP and close your accounts before moving to NZ. The key reason is NZ's treatment of foreign assets and investment (under IRD's FIF rules you can Google it) is rather harse and discouraging to hold such foreign investments directly (i'm speaking equities / shares). Since the sum of all your accounts will exceed the $50K NZD threshold, without a doubt FIF will apply. The most common tax approach under FIF is the FDR (5% fair dividend rate) which is the taxing of the entire foreign portfolio at end of March 31st (ending balance) and re-assessed April 1st (beginning balance). Basically 5% of the annual paper gain is 'taxable income' at 5%. This is VERY different to how Canadian investments are done. RRSPs, RESP, RDSP, etc. all such registered accounts are 100% tax free compounding and deferred (where you wind the portfolios down at retirement to reflect the tax bracket you're in). This not the case in NZ where their Kiwi Saver program has mutual funds that are taxed annually (that is the fund managers that buy shares upon investor's behalf, have to pay taxes on their dividends they receive, taxes on foreign capital gains on the sale of such shares, etc). Then upon retirement, the NZ resident can withdraw the proceed tax free (either little or all of the account). NZ for as long as I can remember has always had an approach to getting the tax 1st and what ever people do with their disposable income, does not matter vs in Canada, well you have all sorts of options around the handling of your taxes at retirement time.

    While many say the 5% FDR rate is small, it does create a tax liability for large account holders by forcing them in a position where they have to sell portions of their shares to pay the tax bill. Work out the figures on a $1M investment account at retirement, if it goes up 10%, that's $50,000 that would have to be declared as taxable income. Then tax 20 or 33 or 38% on which tax bracket you're on. If you're familiar with portfolio performance, no one other than John Bogle (RIP) knows how punishing mutual fund performance can be with high mgt & admin fees. Another way to look at it is if you think some mutual funds that have a high charge out fee, particularly the ETF funds with say 1 or 2% per year (FYI, Mr Bogle's Vanguard ETFs have an annual fee of low as 0.08% p.a), just imagine how much loss in compounding you would see under FIF of 1.8%? And there's no credit on years when you go negative, but the FIF kicks back in when the portfolio value recovers year after year.

    4 Year Tax Emption by IRD for new residents:

    IMO, it's a sham for IRD to sniff out migrants with large investments. By making it tax free, you also have to still disclose these holdings and during this process, IRD has a record and obviously would like to know what happens after the 4 year tax free exmption expires. It works by 1st, showing your tax status and how much investments you have abroad, the accountant works out your taxable income, and then you apply for the 4 year exemption credit. However, just because you moved to NZ doesn't mean you haven't finished your tax liability in Canada. The CRA as you know have records on all your RRSPs, TFSA etc. and when you move to NZ, you'll most likely pay a higher tax rate (filing as a non-resident) when you close up these accounts while taking advantage of NZ's 4 year tax exemption when living in NZ.

    Remember, IRD views TFSA as a 'foreign trust' and the capital gains would be assessed under FIF. Note, FIF kicks in when the SUM of ALL of your investment accounts go over $50K. One can't simply get around the rule by opening multiple accounts and try to keep them under $50K in all of them. Furthermore, there's the pension aspect. You would of paid into CPP and there's OAS and private pensions. All those would not be exempt under NZ's tax if you plan to stay in NZ well into retirement. The very least your bank should inform you is that once you leave Canada, no contributions would be allowed to your TFSA. The problem is while it will grow tax free in Canada, it won't in NZ.

    Have a look on MoneySense website that addresses a lot of cases of Cdns that have moved abroad and their investment / tax liability. This example below is for those moving to the US:

    https://www.moneysense.ca/columns/as...ng-to-the-u-s/

    A little different to NZ example but the approach is still the same from the CRA's point of view. Look to sever all ties in Canada like giving up your driver's license, memberships, and particularly banks accounts (you can hold 1 without question) as Trudeau made a large investment to the CRA once he was voted in to tackle the Vancouver housing price crisis. Their audit dept focussed on non-residents owning assets in Canada so it's very important that you make yourself a non-resident vs saying your a non-resident by 'of convenience'.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super_BQ View Post
    Pleaser refer to this thread as it basically answers most of your questions.

    https://www.enz.org/forum/showthread.php?t=55573

    There are plenty of tax accountants here in NZ that specialise in overseas migrant tax issues. But be prepared to pay a hefty price as they all feel it's a right to charge as much as they can to those that have $. i'll try to explain the highliners as short as possible.

    As I explained in that other thread, the short answer is you're best to sell EVERYTHING UP and close your accounts before moving to NZ. The key reason is NZ's treatment of foreign assets and investment (under IRD's FIF rules you can Google it) is rather harse and discouraging to hold such foreign investments directly (i'm speaking equities / shares). Since the sum of all your accounts will exceed the $50K NZD threshold, without a doubt FIF will apply. The most common tax approach under FIF is the FDR (5% fair dividend rate) which is the taxing of the entire foreign portfolio at end of March 31st (ending balance) and re-assessed April 1st (beginning balance). Basically 5% of the annual paper gain is 'taxable income' at 5%. This is VERY different to how Canadian investments are done. RRSPs, RESP, RDSP, etc. all such registered accounts are 100% tax free compounding and deferred (where you wind the portfolios down at retirement to reflect the tax bracket you're in). This not the case in NZ where their Kiwi Saver program has mutual funds that are taxed annually (that is the fund managers that buy shares upon investor's behalf, have to pay taxes on their dividends they receive, taxes on foreign capital gains on the sale of such shares, etc). Then upon retirement, the NZ resident can withdraw the proceed tax free (either little or all of the account). NZ for as long as I can remember has always had an approach to getting the tax 1st and what ever people do with their disposable income, does not matter vs in Canada, well you have all sorts of options around the handling of your taxes at retirement time.

    While many say the 5% FDR rate is small, it does create a tax liability for large account holders by forcing them in a position where they have to sell portions of their shares to pay the tax bill. Work out the figures on a $1M investment account at retirement, if it goes up 10%, that's $50,000 that would have to be declared as taxable income. Then tax 20 or 33 or 38% on which tax bracket you're on. If you're familiar with portfolio performance, no one other than John Bogle (RIP) knows how punishing mutual fund performance can be with high mgt & admin fees. Another way to look at it is if you think some mutual funds that have a high charge out fee, particularly the ETF funds with say 1 or 2% per year (FYI, Mr Bogle's Vanguard ETFs have an annual fee of low as 0.08% p.a), just imagine how much loss in compounding you would see under FIF of 1.8%? And there's no credit on years when you go negative, but the FIF kicks back in when the portfolio value recovers year after year.

    4 Year Tax Emption by IRD for new residents:

    IMO, it's a sham for IRD to sniff out migrants with large investments. By making it tax free, you also have to still disclose these holdings and during this process, IRD has a record and obviously would like to know what happens after the 4 year tax free exmption expires. It works by 1st, showing your tax status and how much investments you have abroad, the accountant works out your taxable income, and then you apply for the 4 year exemption credit. However, just because you moved to NZ doesn't mean you haven't finished your tax liability in Canada. The CRA as you know have records on all your RRSPs, TFSA etc. and when you move to NZ, you'll most likely pay a higher tax rate (filing as a non-resident) when you close up these accounts while taking advantage of NZ's 4 year tax exemption when living in NZ.

    Remember, IRD views TFSA as a 'foreign trust' and the capital gains would be assessed under FIF. Note, FIF kicks in when the SUM of ALL of your investment accounts go over $50K. One can't simply get around the rule by opening multiple accounts and try to keep them under $50K in all of them. Furthermore, there's the pension aspect. You would of paid into CPP and there's OAS and private pensions. All those would not be exempt under NZ's tax if you plan to stay in NZ well into retirement. The very least your bank should inform you is that once you leave Canada, no contributions would be allowed to your TFSA. The problem is while it will grow tax free in Canada, it won't in NZ.

    Have a look on MoneySense website that addresses a lot of cases of Cdns that have moved abroad and their investment / tax liability. This example below is for those moving to the US:

    https://www.moneysense.ca/columns/as...ng-to-the-u-s/

    A little different to NZ example but the approach is still the same from the CRA's point of view. Look to sever all ties in Canada like giving up your driver's license, memberships, and particularly banks accounts (you can hold 1 without question) as Trudeau made a large investment to the CRA once he was voted in to tackle the Vancouver housing price crisis. Their audit dept focussed on non-residents owning assets in Canada so it's very important that you make yourself a non-resident vs saying your a non-resident by 'of convenience'.
    Thanks Super_BQ for your insights

    At this time, I don't have plans to stay in New Zealand long term. Likely a few years which means the 4 year exemption and not dismantling what I have here might be the best approach right now. If I knew I was going to be there long term, having a better understanding of these different issues now, I would officially liquidate. And perhaps if there is a change of heart after a couple of years, maybe that'll be the time to liquidate the holdings. I'd would hate to actually sell everything off (real sell, not just deemed) when it has been well positioned long term and then come back to Canada within a few years.

    While I have to keep in mind long term tax implications for New Zealand, the key right now is CRA and what the impacts/options are, and whether I can continue to maintain existing accounts until further notice.

  4. #4
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    Not a tax expert, but am a Canadian living in NZ for almost 7 years. Unless you have a resident or permanent resident visa or are a citizen, the 4 year window doesn't apply to you. At all. Ever.

    You should find out from a tax expert whether you can remain a Canadian resident for taxation purposes. You'd probably pay less NZ tax up front and then have to plan ahead to pay some Canadian tax on your NZ-based income.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by redneckjabronie View Post
    Thanks Super_BQ for your insights

    At this time, I don't have plans to stay in New Zealand long term. Likely a few years which means the 4 year exemption and not dismantling what I have here might be the best approach right now. If I knew I was going to be there long term, having a better understanding of these different issues now, I would officially liquidate. And perhaps if there is a change of heart after a couple of years, maybe that'll be the time to liquidate the holdings. I'd would hate to actually sell everything off (real sell, not just deemed) when it has been well positioned long term and then come back to Canada within a few years.

    While I have to keep in mind long term tax implications for New Zealand, the key right now is CRA and what the impacts/options are, and whether I can continue to maintain existing accounts until further notice.
    Have a look at this link, watch all parts of the video:

    http://madanca.com/blog/becoming-a-n...ent-of-canada/

    Basically the CRA does not make it easy to become a non-resident. You can't be 'by of convenience' become a non-resident so play close attention to primary and secondary ties. Remember, Trudeau has been clear by funding the CRA to attack all those non-residents that fall into this area of owning real estate in Vancouver while claiming a residency abroad. This means that when you are in NZ, you also need to establish a strong tie here and not just try and live in NZ by of convenience. If your actions prove you only lived in NZ for 3 or 4 years and return back to Canada, this would also elevate your tax audit risk as they'll look at the deemed disposition aspect. The issue of capital gains tax is very complicated in Canada and while it has not be openly discussed in NZ during the talks of imposing CGT here, the real reason why it was abolished earlier in the year was due to it's complexities. (NZ has a population of around 4.7M and the real question is, shall a country this size require such complex tax structures and requirements for it's residence?).

    The 'deemed disposition' or departure tax may be of serious consideration. This applies to NON-registered investment accounts say having a brokerage account owning shares directly (outside of say your RRSP, or TFSA, or registered pension plans). Any capital gains are taxable to the day you leave Canada. I've heard for many, they can't afford to leave Canada because of this deemed disposition because tax is due on the entire portfolio.

    If your assets are small - you could probably get away without paying any tax accountant and just dig up as much info online. Do what's required, fill out the right forms, etc. This what I did when I left Canada over 20 years ago (for which at the time the tax requirement was a lot less than today). During that period of time, many of my friends left Canada after finishing their studies. Only very few went back as they maintained a much better life abroad.

    Also you may know, citizenship has nothing to do with residency. Even to this day when I was visiting back in Canada, some of my friends thought I "gave up citizenship" when I moved to NZ. The Cdn tax code (like NZ) makes it clear that citizenship has nothing to do with residency, unlike in the US, the IRS ties simple facts like birth place in the US is an automatic right of US citizenship which spews over tax regulations such as FACTA and the Patriot Act, where foreign banks are required to conformed to.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super_BQ View Post
    Have a look at this link, watch all parts of the video:

    http://madanca.com/blog/becoming-a-n...ent-of-canada/

    Basically the CRA does not make it easy to become a non-resident. You can't be 'by of convenience' become a non-resident so play close attention to primary and secondary ties. Remember, Trudeau has been clear by funding the CRA to attack all those non-residents that fall into this area of owning real estate in Vancouver while claiming a residency abroad. This means that when you are in NZ, you also need to establish a strong tie here and not just try and live in NZ by of convenience. If your actions prove you only lived in NZ for 3 or 4 years and return back to Canada, this would also elevate your tax audit risk as they'll look at the deemed disposition aspect. The issue of capital gains tax is very complicated in Canada and while it has not be openly discussed in NZ during the talks of imposing CGT here, the real reason why it was abolished earlier in the year was due to it's complexities. (NZ has a population of around 4.7M and the real question is, shall a country this size require such complex tax structures and requirements for it's residence?).

    The 'deemed disposition' or departure tax may be of serious consideration. This applies to NON-registered investment accounts say having a brokerage account owning shares directly (outside of say your RRSP, or TFSA, or registered pension plans). Any capital gains are taxable to the day you leave Canada. I've heard for many, they can't afford to leave Canada because of this deemed disposition because tax is due on the entire portfolio.

    If your assets are small - you could probably get away without paying any tax accountant and just dig up as much info online. Do what's required, fill out the right forms, etc. This what I did when I left Canada over 20 years ago (for which at the time the tax requirement was a lot less than today). During that period of time, many of my friends left Canada after finishing their studies. Only very few went back as they maintained a much better life abroad.

    Also you may know, citizenship has nothing to do with residency. Even to this day when I was visiting back in Canada, some of my friends thought I "gave up citizenship" when I moved to NZ. The Cdn tax code (like NZ) makes it clear that citizenship has nothing to do with residency, unlike in the US, the IRS ties simple facts like birth place in the US is an automatic right of US citizenship which spews over tax regulations such as FACTA and the Patriot Act, where foreign banks are required to conformed to.
    Thanks again!

    I lived in the US for a few years and had little to ties to Canada at that time so I was a non-resident. In this case, the primary ties would be severed, but there may be additional ties this time (ie.investment/retirement accounts). Like many others who leave, the long term is uncertain. My guess is I would most likely be a non-resident for Canadian tax purposes.

    The deemed disposition is a major issue as the tax is likely to be significant. My understanding is that there is a 'security' option but not quite sure how that works. I did read that if for whatever reason one is to return to Canada, you can reverse the deemed disposition so worst case, maybe it's not that bad.

    I'll hopefully be getting some 'face to face' financial advice namely as it pertains to CRA very soon. Depending on what I hear, it'll be go or no go. And if go, deal with a potential NZ taxing situation at a later date.

  7. #7
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    Does not hurt to get as much advice as possible - even if you have to pay because good advice is worth every dollar even as a 2nd opinion because you can't turn back time and you can't fix mistakes in such as a tax audit.

    As a side observation, for the entire time living in NZ i've met many exPat Canadians living in NZ face to face and all of their circumstances for coming to NZ were more on the typical as any other overseas migrant (looking to find a better life and an easier living). It's only natural to think this way as most people want the experience. However, what I tend to look at is the LASTING experience ; how long do they stay in NZ and vice versa, how long would ex-NZ residence stay in Canada.

    If you don't remember, Canada went through a very tough time economically in the late 90s early 2000 and the country experienced a lot of 'brain drain' and an exodus of skilled labour leaving the country. During that time Canada was known internationally of having unequitable taxation or an over burden of taxation, while at the same time, NZ was considered a somewhat tax haven. Now about 20 years later, i'm confident to say the tables have turned around.

    Example 1:
    Canada back then had restrictions on Mutual Funds that could invest no more than 33% of the fund's assets in foreign investments : Today Canadians can enjoy a wide open door of choices for overseas investments with no tax discrimination.
    NZ back then had no FIF and NZ residents could own directly overseas shares or managed funds with no tax penalty, in fact the capital gains were tax free and there was no reporting disclosure required. Today, NZ has FIF as I mentioned the details before this FIF clearly discrimination between owning NZ investments vs overseas investments either held directly or by the fund managers.

    Example 2:
    Canada back then on say a $70K income level, the tax bracket (cumulative with provincial) of about 50% (roughly near that for BC residents). Today the tax for that same amount of income - the marginal tax rate has dropped to a whopping 28%
    NZ back then on $70K the tax bracket was 33% which remains the same today. But the most compelling difference is NZ has no 'personal exemption limit' which in Canada has been indexed to inflation - first $10K of income is not taxed. NZ does not have this basic exemption. Also I find that inflation in NZ over the year has far exeeded inflation in Canada so the buying power of $70K NZD today buys a lot less than how much $70K CAD has eroded.

    Example 3:
    Canada back then for BC residents had sales tax of 14% (7% GST and 7% PST). Today GST is 5% so a 2% drop. No PST on restaurant means and many of basic foods is still GST / PST exempt and same with children clothing. etc.
    NZ back then had GST of 10%. Over the years i've seen it go to 12.5% and now at 15% and this is on ALL goods and services - no exemptions - flat rate on anything consumed and used in NZ.

    But don't let my examples scare you. The most compelling reason i've found is this. My father is a kiwi that moved to Canada in the late 60s, among many of them he's kept in contact (expat NZ school teachers living in Canada), virtually ALL of them never went back to NZ. They are well into their retirement age and it's very clear, none of them ended up moving back to NZ from Canada even though they may of wanted to. Why? The only logical reason is when they walk into their financial advisor and ask about looking to go non-resident in Canada and move back to NZ (because they wanted to be closer to their family in NZ, etc), they've found that the deemed disposition tax and the way NZ treats foreign owned property had scared them off. Quite simply both NZ and Canada in terms of tax treament have grown too far apart.

    So as you say, if you find yourself in the position like my father's ex-pat NZ friends living in Canada (that would like to move to NZ), but their size of invested assets are too large where the deemed disposition creates too much of a tax liability, then you may probably find the move is more than what you're asking for.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super_BQ View Post
    Does not hurt to get as much advice as possible - even if you have to pay because good advice is worth every dollar even as a 2nd opinion because you can't turn back time and you can't fix mistakes in such as a tax audit.

    As a side observation, for the entire time living in NZ i've met many exPat Canadians living in NZ face to face and all of their circumstances for coming to NZ were more on the typical as any other overseas migrant (looking to find a better life and an easier living). It's only natural to think this way as most people want the experience. However, what I tend to look at is the LASTING experience ; how long do they stay in NZ and vice versa, how long would ex-NZ residence stay in Canada.

    If you don't remember, Canada went through a very tough time economically in the late 90s early 2000 and the country experienced a lot of 'brain drain' and an exodus of skilled labour leaving the country. During that time Canada was known internationally of having unequitable taxation or an over burden of taxation, while at the same time, NZ was considered a somewhat tax haven. Now about 20 years later, i'm confident to say the tables have turned around.

    Example 1:
    Canada back then had restrictions on Mutual Funds that could invest no more than 33% of the fund's assets in foreign investments : Today Canadians can enjoy a wide open door of choices for overseas investments with no tax discrimination.
    NZ back then had no FIF and NZ residents could own directly overseas shares or managed funds with no tax penalty, in fact the capital gains were tax free and there was no reporting disclosure required. Today, NZ has FIF as I mentioned the details before this FIF clearly discrimination between owning NZ investments vs overseas investments either held directly or by the fund managers.

    Example 2:
    Canada back then on say a $70K income level, the tax bracket (cumulative with provincial) of about 50% (roughly near that for BC residents). Today the tax for that same amount of income - the marginal tax rate has dropped to a whopping 28%
    NZ back then on $70K the tax bracket was 33% which remains the same today. But the most compelling difference is NZ has no 'personal exemption limit' which in Canada has been indexed to inflation - first $10K of income is not taxed. NZ does not have this basic exemption. Also I find that inflation in NZ over the year has far exeeded inflation in Canada so the buying power of $70K NZD today buys a lot less than how much $70K CAD has eroded.

    Example 3:
    Canada back then for BC residents had sales tax of 14% (7% GST and 7% PST). Today GST is 5% so a 2% drop. No PST on restaurant means and many of basic foods is still GST / PST exempt and same with children clothing. etc.
    NZ back then had GST of 10%. Over the years i've seen it go to 12.5% and now at 15% and this is on ALL goods and services - no exemptions - flat rate on anything consumed and used in NZ.

    But don't let my examples scare you. The most compelling reason i've found is this. My father is a kiwi that moved to Canada in the late 60s, among many of them he's kept in contact (expat NZ school teachers living in Canada), virtually ALL of them never went back to NZ. They are well into their retirement age and it's very clear, none of them ended up moving back to NZ from Canada even though they may of wanted to. Why? The only logical reason is when they walk into their financial advisor and ask about looking to go non-resident in Canada and move back to NZ (because they wanted to be closer to their family in NZ, etc), they've found that the deemed disposition tax and the way NZ treats foreign owned property had scared them off. Quite simply both NZ and Canada in terms of tax treament have grown too far apart.

    So as you say, if you find yourself in the position like my father's ex-pat NZ friends living in Canada (that would like to move to NZ), but their size of invested assets are too large where the deemed disposition creates too much of a tax liability, then you may probably find the move is more than what you're asking for.
    I do remember, I was part of that university brain drain in the late 1990s. Canada was a mess at that time, no jobs. I ended up in the US for a few years, which was booming in the late 90s/early 2000s. And as you pointed out, taxes were less favorable and investment choices were limited in Canada.

    I appreciate the examples, it's good to cover all the bases. I always want to keep the option of retiring somewhere a bit more hospitable that Canada in terms of lifestyle and climate. A lower cost of living country that offers this could justify paying a large deemed disposition tax. Not sure New Zealand justifies that at this time. I kind of have a 'go/no go' scenario in my mind and depending on what additional information I get back, it'll push me one way or another. Seems as if I would have to have to pay a large tax only to be further taxed on investments down the road in New Zealand. So, at this stage, even if it happens, it won't be a super long proposition.

  9. #9
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    I always want to keep the option of retiring somewhere a bit more hospitable that Canada in terms of lifestyle and climate. A lower cost of living country that offers this could justify paying a large deemed disposition tax. .
    Take the search with an extreme grain of salt. Myself and the financial advisor you will see will say the same thing ; you would pay a lot more living in NZ than living in Canada ; there's no comparison because the tax loading on investments in NZ is a lot higher than in Canada. And while the climate may appeal to you, photos of NZ won't even tell you half of the story. For starters, you'll find the quality of houses (even newly built ones) in NZ are very different to Cdn homes. The pictures can not describe the lack of comfort in NZ homes and their high energy input required to keep them warm in winter months. In Canada, house are kept warm for many reason (ie so plumbing pipes don't burst, more hygenic / mold issue) but to come to NZ thinking a more milder climate would fix these problems will get you wrong. Electricity is near 4 times the price in Canada and for very old homes, it's not uncommon of seeing near $1000/month power bills (if you had to keep the home warm at 22C day and night ; yet this is a normal requirement for Cdn homes in winter months). Also, if you price homes in Auckland and compare them to Vancouver (both hot spot prices in recent years); you'll find the Vancouver home for the same price is twice the size, 2 story, and more interesting to look at than the NZ single story home in Auckland.

    Gasoline or Petro in NZ is around $2.20/L - a lot more in Auckland (just like in Vancouver due to city transit tax). NZ has no USA or Mexico so expect buying fruits and vegetables in season ; to the Cdn, Loblaws/Superstore provides year round of vegetables from Mexico via NAFTA. Currently, i'm paying $6 for a small half punnet of strawberries flow in from Australia (which amounts to almost $1 per strawberry). Quality of imported fruits is not even close to what you would find at Costco or Loblaws. A good example is the imported grapes from the US as they all seem left on the shelf too long. But it's not just the grapes, but it's also NZ retailers seem to pick 2nd rate fruits like in the mangoes ; the retailers don't sell the large size variety mangoes that you only see in Canada. They get the smaller ones or 2nd rate picking and sometimes they have a sale on them for like 99c each, on most part they're not worthy of consuming because they're too small or over-ripe. You could not sell such stuff in Canada because no one would buy it at any price. Because in NZ, when you have no 'other option' then 'beggers can't be choosers'.

    Minimum wage in NZ is $17.70/hr for an adult - which many believe this is not a livable wage. The Cdn on minimum wage working around $13 - $14/hr will see far more disposable income because the CRA has the 1st $12,000 of income tax free (personal exemption limit).

    While your personal requirements may differ, you may find trying to live a meager life in NZ will cost you just as much as living a high life in Canada. Perhaps you could try visit NZ just as a vacation to really see if NZ will work for you rather than doing a short 3 year stunt which could cost you a lot more money.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    7

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    Thanks again. I have heard about the quality of housing in NZ, much lousier standard than we have here. Some of the other stuff you mentioned I've also heard before. Consumers get gouged in places like New Zealand and Australia because of their isolation. So, it's a far more expensive part of the world compared to Canada which benefits from the economies of scale while attached to the big USA.

    For me, heading over there wouldn't be so much about taking a hit in the short term, but making sure I don't shoot myself in the foot long term. Most of the Canadians I know that went to New Zealand in the last 15 years came back within a few years, for different reasons but nobody remained long term. I have even met a couple of fellow professionals here in western Canada from New Zealand that have never returned home for different reasons. I would never have plans to retire in New Zealand, I'd rather pay the price for a lower cost country with a good quality of life and climate.

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