In The US On “L” Visa


“My husband and I are working in the US right now. He’s on a L1 visa, and I’m an L2. We’ve been here since 2021, and we were wondering about a few things.

I’m assuming I won’t have to fill out a Canadian tax return for 2023? I still have a TFSA, and will be filling out the 8858 instead of a 3520 – Is this okay? What about my RRSP? I still have a Canadian bank account with more than $10k in it, so I need to do FBARs too?”


There are a lot of parts here, so we will break it down into chunks:

  • Because you are a US Resident for tax purposes (Assuming you do not have any significant Canadian ties, like a home, spouse, or dependants etc), you likely do not need to file a Canadian tax return for 2023.
  • RRSP’s: You can elect to defer U.S. tax on income accrued in the RRSP until the income is distributed, based on Article XVIII(7) of the U.S.-Canada Tax Treaty. This election is made by attaching a statement with your tax return, including specific information about the RRSP. (Form 8891 used to be used for this, but that form has been eliminated by the IRS.) Read: Revenue Procedure 2014-55 Pro-tip: You may need to file an 8938, depending on your specific circumstances. (Read: How many many zeroes you have on that account $$$.)
  • Form 8858 (Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect To Foreign Disregarded Entities) is typically not the form used for a TFSA. 3520 is the Form used, if you wanted to go that route. (See below)
  • Speaking of TFSA’s, if you’re planning on staying in the US for a long period of time (longer than a year) you may want to look at closing the TFSA to make your life easier. It's not tax-free income for US purposes, for starters. Secondly there's the issue of whether or not a TFSA constitutes a PFIC for US purposes, and requires the filing of 3520's and 8621's. There hasn't been any guidance issued on this from the IRS. "You pays your money, you takes your choice," as the saying goes.
  • Because the Canadian bank account is over $10k, and you’re technically a US person (L-2 visa), you need to file the Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts on FinCEN Form 114 (FBAR’s.)

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**Usual Disclaimer: What is written here is not formal tax advice. I’m not your CPA. It’s possible, or dare I say even probable, that the comments and opinions expressed here contain material errors, are out of date, or that important stuff has been left out. Don’t use this info to make tax decisions. Hire a pro to help you.