California Tax Filing with a Canadian Spouse

Our previous article discussed the concept of California domicile and the application of California community-property rules to Canadians domiciled in the state. This article is the second installment in our series explaining how California community property laws can impact Canadians.

At Cardinal Point, we regularly deal with cross-border couples who maintain cross-border lifestyles due to career commitments or other obligations. It’s important to understand how California’s community property laws apply when one spouse is domiciled in California and the other in Canada.

Imagine a married couple in which the wife lives in Toronto (and is domiciled in Ontario) and the husband lives in Los Angeles (and is domiciled in California). Both spouses are dual American and Canadian citizens and they file a joint U.S. Form 1040 tax return. The husband, Drew, is a professional hockey player who plays for a California-based NHL team. Drew’s wife, Amber, is a top fashion model based out of Toronto. The couple owns homes in both Toronto and Los Angeles. Since Amber is mainly working in Toronto, New York, London and Paris, she only spends two weeks a year in Los Angeles with her husband. Moreover, Amber does not earn any California-sourced income.

One might assume that Amber does not need to file a California tax return and pay California tax, given that she doesn’t earn any California income and isn’t domiciled in California.

But as we stated in our previous article, California follows its own rules for determining tax residency. Unlike federal tax treatment, an immigrant to California is normally a California resident from the date of arrival. No 183 physical presence test or green card is required to determine California residency status. Moreover, since California is not a party to the Canada-U.S. tax treaty, the treaty is not applicable for purposes of determining California residency (similarly, California does not allow a foreign tax credit or the federal foreign earned income exclusion).

Going back to Drew and Amber, because they are filing jointly on their federal return, California requires the same joint filing status on their California return, and they would pay California tax on their worldwide income.

There is, however, a little-known legal exception that will allow our imaginary couple to file separately instead of jointly for California tax purposes. To file separately in California, two criteria must be met: (1) Amber must not be a resident of California and (2) she must not have any California-sourced income, including California wages and income from California real-estate property.

With Amber filing separately under the exception, she would still need to file a California 540NR non-resident return to pay tax on 50% of her husband’s California income. That’s because Drew is domiciled in California. Moreover, she would need to disclose her non-California-sourced income on the California return to determine her California tax rate.

Because of the complexities facing cross-border couples, they are well-advised to seek out tax advisers who specialize in navigating the cross-border tax landscape.

Marc Gedeon is a CPA (U.S), CPA (Canada) and Tax Attorney at Cardinal Point, a cross-border wealth management organization with offices in the United States and Canada.  Marc specializes in providing Canada-U.S. cross-border financial, tax, transition, and estate planning services. www.cardinalpointwealth.com This piece is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

Salient Benefits of Business Insurance in Risk Minimization

There is a saying in business that “no risk, no gain” and in terms of business it’s true as well.

If you can’t take more risk in the business then it will be not possible for you to grow more and gain more revenue as well.

Thus, it should be the duty of each businessman that he must take a bit of risk in order to grow his empire.

But how much risk one should take in the business and how to cover it up is the bone of contention.

Among all other viable options, there is one which can give you a prudent and effective control on your risk and thus you can tackle the situations in a better way.

It is needless to say that Business insurance is a way by which one can control things.

It is a financial vehicle that is designed to safeguard the risk or financial losses of the business and provide a sigh of relief to the business owners.

There are various advantages that one can reap from taking this measure by contacting a business insurance specialist to curb down the risk.

  • It can take care of the loss and any forms of liability occurred in unfortunate circumstances.
  • Business insurance protects people and the business environment.
  • It can reduce the sudden rise in operational costs due to any accidents or losses.
  • It ensures the continuity of the business and prolongs the existence of it as well.
  • It is fully committed to giving you full support and assistance in preventing the financial losses thus you can do your business in a more aggressive way and can grow significantly without any tension or stress.

In addition to all the above, as a business owner, you can also get the benefits in tax when you avail taxation services along with a good business insurance.

Do not forget to get in touch with a specialist who can walk through all the details before you plan to get a good insurace for your business.

5 Real Estate Advice for First Time Buyers

With the changing economy and tremendous demand for profits, some businesses have gone up and some have faced a downfall.

Real estate is one of those businesses that has increased in the past few years.
apartments
Despite the risk in the real estate business, some of the top real estate websites have been successful in making profits.

This has only happened with the help of trusted and well-established sellers.

Here is a few advice to the first time buyers in the real estate market:

1- It’s the business of location:

It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time buyer or an experienced investor, you need to understand the best prices of various locations before entering the market.

The prices will keep changing and so even if you are experienced, you would still need to stay connected with the prices.

2- Learn the art of negotiation:

Business all about gives and take. You need to know how much are you willing to give to take. This is the time period when you need to test your negotiation skills.

At the same time, if a certain property is not within your budget, do not have a flow of emotions and do to stick to it. Learn to move on as it is not the end of the road.

3- Make your credit background stronger:

The decision of buying a property does not come overnight. There is a lot of planning, thinking and research required.

You will have ample time to clear all your dues and improve your credit scores to let them bank sanction you a desirable home loan.

4- Explore the real estate market:

Do not stick to only one website for real estate investment.

Check various top real estate websites and compare the rates. It is also important that you learn your neighborhood.

For instance, if you are looking to buy apartments in Regina , do compare the prices of the properties online as well as in your nearest location.

By looking at just one location, you would miss out on some good deals, which maybe at a distance of a few miles away.

5- Do not let the seller bargain:

The seller will always try to put your price down and raise his expectations from you.

Remember, buying a property is YOUR decision and so the deal should not be closed under the influence of anyone.

Stick to your desired price and sway no to compromise. Keep surfing the market for your desirable properties.

Key to Successful Selling for Online Businesses

Aaron is an expert when it comes to the sales industry as he has invaluable experience in the art of selling products and services. He says that when you are going in for sales, it is positive for you to create positive first impressions.

Now, this is not a hard task for you at all. You just should like to meet people and understand what they are looking for in the product or service you offer.

Appointment Booking

Especially when you are into online marketing or business and want to attract more customers, the offering you make should highlight the benefits of the product or service to the customer. He says that when you are selling products and services it is important for you to be aware of your customer and their requirements.

In fact, the moment you need the background of your customer, you effectively can sell them the specifics of the product or the service.

When you are selling the product or service, you should be aware of the preferences, age, and tastes of the customer. They should be able to afford your offering and it should be appealing to them to take it.

Improving your soft skills in the sales process

Communication is a vital ingredient in the sales process and Aaron says that you should improve on your soft skills and have good listening skills to understand the needs and the expectations of your customers.

In case you are into online business or services you can efficiently make communication better for your customers by getting a better appointment booking platform for them. A free online Scheduling tool like Bookafy can help a lot in this respect.

Always remember that your product or service has a unique selling proposition or a USP. It is important for you to have a very good and effective understanding of the product or service so that you are ready and prepared to answer any questions that the customer might ask.

In the case of selling, you do not have to be a technical expert but you should highlight the strengths of the product or service in a most efficient way.

Author bio: Aaron is a successful entrepreneur who is running an online business for about a decade. He always recommends using the best technology and tools for getting more customers and profits.

The Yale Myth: Analyzing the Poor Performance of Endowments

The investment performance of Yale’s and Harvard’s endowments has drawn interest from other endowments and investors alike, but little research has been done on non-profit endowment performance overall, despite the $700 billion in assets they collectively manage.

One recent study,  “Investment Returns and Distribution Policies of Non-Profit Endowment Funds,” released by Georgetown University and the Stern School of Business, shed some light on endowment performance.

This paper, by professors Sandeep Dahiya and David Yermack, used IRS filing from 2009-2016 to look at the investment performance of more than 28,000 organizations, and the authors made some surprising conclusions.

  • In general, they found, endowments averaged a return of only 3.75% over the period, badly underperforming a 60/40 equity/bond split portfolio by 5.53%. They were even handily beaten by Treasury bonds, which returned an average of 4.89% over that period.
  • Using the Fama-French-Carhart four factor model (risk, size, value and momentum), the authors found a statistically significant (to below 1%) alpha of -1.01%.
  • Despite the reputations of Yale’s and Harvard’s endowments, higher education endowments performed significantly worse than other endowments, with alphas of -1.89% and -.93% respectively.
  • Smaller endowments perform better than larger endowments, contrary to expectation. It is often assumed that larger endowments have access to better managers and can negotiate lower fees.
  • The top 20 national universities, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, performed better, with abnormal returns of zero percent. While this is much better than the negative alphas of the endowment group as a whole, a zero percent alpha is the abnormal return expected simply by chance.

The authors surmise that while both stocks and bonds experienced a bull market for most of the study period, endowments may have been sitting on the sidelines, with large amounts of their assets in cash or equivalents.  They also found an interesting performance pattern.

Large endowments, which make up the majority of investment assets, had poor performance if they were located closer to a major financial center, while smaller endowments tended to perform better the closer they were to a major financial center.  It is not clear why this would be the case, but one possibility is that large funds are likely to attract, and possibly over-invest in, money managers pitching expensive, illiquid products.

Some of these finding are backed up by an earlier study from Vanguard.  Their September 2014 study, “Assessing Endowment Performance: The Enduring Role of Low-Cost Investing” noted that in the 25 years prior to 2014, the investment strategies of many endowments changed dramatically.

A balanced 60%/40% stock/bond split was the traditional investment norm, but over the 25 year period, investments in alternatives such as hedge funds and private equity increased dramatically, possibly in response to Yale’s success.  By 2013, the largest endowment portfolios had 60% of their assets tied up in such investments.  Vanguard’s study looked at whether or not this strategy shift had paid off.

The answer, unsurprisingly, was no.  The table below, from their study, shows the 5 – 25 year returns of all endowments in the study, compared to a 60% stock / 40% bond benchmark.

 

5 years                 10 years                15 years              20 years            25 years

 

Yale University 3.3% 11.0% 11.8% 13.5% 13.2%
Harvard University 1.7 9.4 9.6 11.9 11.5
All endowments 3.8 6.8 5.6 7.7 8.4
All active balanced mutual funds 5.1 6.0 4.9 7.0 7.9
60% stock/40% bond benchmark 5.9 7.4 5.7 7.6 8.3

 

This table also shows the long term performance of Yale’s and Harvard’s endowment compared to the rest of the group.

Their past outperformance is clear and is what led to the “Yale Model” that other funds and investors have tried to replicate, however, in the most recent 5 year period, both of those endowments have performed poorly, returning less, on average, than endowments as a group, and coming in far below the returns of a simple 60% stock / 40% bond portfolio.

Vanguard found that endowments had, over time, significantly increased the portfolio percentages allocated to alternative investments.  In the 10 years up until June 2013, large endowments increased their alternative allocation from, on average, 31% to 59%.

Medium sized endowments went from 16% to 36%, while small endowments went from 5% to 18%.  But there is no evidence that this pivot towards alternative investments has increased returns.

There are a number of possible reasons for this.  One explanation is that the performance of hedge funds overall has decreased over the last couple of decades.  Vanguard found that the excess returns realized by large endowments mostly occurred in the early to mid 2000s, before many smaller endowments began moving into the alternatives space.

But aside from timing issues, there is the problem of active management in general.  While there are clearly successful outliers, alternative investments as a group do not outperform public market benchmarks.  Generating outsized returns from alternatives, then, requires finding and accessing top managers.

And, of course, it requires those top managers to continue their out-performance over extended periods of time, something that most studies show simply does not happen.   It is also possible that expenses dragged down performance for small endowments especially.

The thinking here is that large funds should be able to negotiate better pricing based on the amount of money they are able to invest.  Smaller funds with less to invest could be paying considerably more.

There is also the question of all around deteriorating performance over the last 5-15 years ending in 2013.  10 years prior to 2013, the performance gap between a balanced portfolio and endowment returns was less than 1%.

In the 5 years prior to 2013, during a period of steady increases in the percentage of portfolios allocated to alternatives, that gap has increased to more than 3%.

Since the study periods here overlap with Dahiya and Yermack, the possibility of endowments holding large cash positions needs to be considered as a reason for this underperformance, but it is also possible that the increase in alternatives was at least partly responsible.

Whatever the reason, it seems clear that endowments have investing in an unsuccessful strategy.  With so many low cost, liquid investment vehicles available, endowments would be better off focusing on factors and asset classes they want exposure to, and utilizing those vehicles to build inexpensive, transparent portfolios to protect and grow their funds.

How to Be Trained In Day Trading?

Everyone wants to be a day trader. It’s quick money, you can stay at home and trade stocks, and every day consists of a brand new trade.

However, not many have what it takes to stick to it.

Day Trading

It’s not just about luck and the ability to guess right, there’s a strong logical side that is involved in the business of day trading.

So what do you learn in day trader training that will help you become a successful day trader?

Know your basics

It is not just about buying and selling shares, it is so much more. Making a profit from these shares require to have a basic knowledge of the market. Calculations and profits go hand in hand.

Without knowing how the market works and how to take advantage of the current scenario, it will be very hard to have a successful sale in the market.

Since day trading is done from home and mostly on the internet nowadays, your first investment should be on a fast PC/Laptop and an even faster internet connection.

Trades happen in the blink of an eye and without haste, you just might lose out on a huge opportunity.

Determination

You have to keep at it until you become good at what you do.

The initial trades might be wrought with losses, but you having to work until you find out what strategy works out the best for you and how you can improve on it and make more profit.

Most of the trade is done the previous day before. If you do not study the market structure and have an idea of how it might turn, you’ll have a bad time.

Strategies and Indicators

Learn to study the technical indicators that define the market and plan your strategies according to it to have a high success rate.

Without both, you have a very low chance of succeeding.

How To Make Your Everyday Trading Easier?

Gurion Trade Command is about empowering traders to do more, trade faster and have more control.

That’s exactly what traders are going to discover when they start using Gurion Trade Command.

Trading is always evolving and Gurion Trade Command is the natural evolution of a trading platform. Faster, more powerful, but easier to use than ever.

Gurion Trade Command project is expected to be finished by the end of March 2020 and released by the end of April 2020.

If you are really excited, you can support the campaign at Kickstarter here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gurion-trade-command/gurion-trade-command

Understanding FEHB in Retirement

Federal employees are often unsure about what happens to their health insurance when they retire.

There is confusion regarding premium payments, integration with Medicare, and whether or not retirees can even keep FEHB.

It is important for federal employees thinking about retirement and federal retirees to understand how the program works in retirement.

health insurance

First and foremost is that yes, federal employees can continue to keep their FEHB insurance when they retire. There is an eligibility hurdle that they must overcome, though.

They must have been covered by FEHB for the 5 years preceding their retirement, and they must be enrolled the day they retire.

During that 5 year period, employees can change plans, carriers, etc. without affecting their eligibility.

FEHB premiums are subsidized by the government, which pays 72% of the cost. A common misconception is that the government no longer provides that subsidy upon retirement.

That is not the case. In fact, retirees will pay the same percentage of the premiums (about 28%) as they did when they were working; the government continues to pick up the remaining 72%.

For example, the Blue Cross Blue Shield standard self plus one plan (plan 106) has a per pay period (biweekly) premium of $748.81.

The government will cover $492.27 of that amount regardless of whether the benefit is for a current employee or a retiree, leaving the employee or retiree with a premium of about $269 per biweekly period.

It should be noted that retirees will make their payments on a monthly basis, while employees pay biweekly, but the overall amounts per month are the same.

The one minor exception is for postal service retirees. Postal employees receive an additional subsidy that does not carry through to retirement.

Once a postal service employee retires, their subsidy will revert to the same 72% that federal employees receive, so in their case, premiums will increase slightly.

For the example above (plan 106) the rate per biweekly period would increase from about $250 per period to about $269 per period.

While premium amounts don’t change when a federal employee retires, tax treatment may. Most federal employees are enrolled in the FEHB premium conversion program.

This program allows the employee portion of the premium payment to be made in pre-tax dollars. Unfortunately, this option is not available to retirees.

Paying premiums with after-tax dollars does effectively increase the cost of FEHB for retirees, though how much will depend on the tax bracket of the individual.

Continuing to use our example above, $269 per period comes out to $6994 per year. For a couple filing jointly in the 22% tax bracket (up to $165,000), a retiree would need almost $9000 in pre-tax income per year to cover federal taxes and the $6994 annual premium.

For a high income tax state like California, the amount needed would be more like $10,000.

FEHB open season is another commonly misunderstood point for retirees. Despite what some think, federal retirees have the same open season, and can make the same changes, as federal employees.

This includes changing carriers, changing plan types and changing who is covered under the plan.  This addresses yet another misconception – that family member cannot be added to a plan.

During open season, it is perfectly fine to add or drop family members as needed with one exception – family members cannot be added after the death of the retiree.

This situation can arise, for instance, with a spouse who is getting full coverage under the spouse’s own employer sponsored plan. Should the spouse quit or be laid off, he or she would not be able to switch to FEHB if the federal retiree has passed away.

While anyone already on the FEHB plan when the federal retiree dies would be able to maintain coverage, no one else could be added.

Finally, a note of caution about canceling FEHB coverage. There is, of course, no requirement that a retiree maintain FEHB coverage.

Some federal retirees move to Medicare, which can be considerably less expensive, though coverage may be reduced as well.

The thing to keep in mind is that once FEHB coverage is dropped in retirement, it cannot be re-instated. There are a couple of exceptions to this.

Veterans can suspend FEHB and move to Tricare, and any federal retiree can suspend FEHB and move to a Medicare HMO (Plan C).

In these cases, coverage with FEHB can be re-established, but under most circumstances, once a retiree gives up FEHB, there is no going back.

To be clear, though, if a federal retiree moves to a spouses FEHB enrollment, that retiree can move back to their own FEHB enrollment in the future. In this situation, FEHB enrollment is not considered terminated.

Federal retirees should take the time to learn the details of how FEHB works. Even for those switching to Medicare, it is possible to have both Medicare plan B and an FEHB plan.

While doing this is a bit more expensive, coverage can be more complete than either of the two programs on their own.

As a federal retiree, FEHB is a great benefit for you and it is important to understand how to maintain eligibility for the program for yourself and your family.

RoyalCBank: Your Ultimate Destination for A Safe Cryptocurrency Trading

Cryptocurrency trading is a journey that lasts for lifelong. It is an interesting way to make money for humankind on this planet and many are presenting interesting and eagerness in it to win and reach heights.

However, to achieve your desired level of success, it is essential to have an online education for profitable trading to get into things that can prove successful.

Cryptocurrency Trading Platform

Imagine, you can trade via web and no download is required with limited trade risk and short-term expirations. Within the trading period, you only have to choose an underlying asset, determine the expiry time then execute the trade.

After which, you would choose the amount of trade in-lined with your available funds and preferred trading strategies. This will be followed by your luxury to predict the direction of the asset. Voila! You only need to wait for the result through a notification, which will be sent directly to you.

Such is the benefit offered to you when you trade in cryptocurrencies via popular brokers, software and reliable trading platform. If you are looking for some good trading options let me tell there are hundreds out there and choosing the one best can be challenging.

RoyalCBank trading platform is one good platform where you can get more help regarding cryptocurrencies trading and automated trading systems. This can help you best in trading profitably. So, check it out and get the advantage.

RoyalCBank has already undertaken various steps to offer you a trading platform that can perform best. The good thing is it can be well-used for institutional and private investors, on a worldwide basis.

There are also the professional brokers available, who are here to coach traders in any manner possible. So, you can always get in touch with the professional staff, working over here, as they are available 24 x 7.

Cardinal Point Featured at CFA SF Society Event

Cardinal Point was founded with the idea of delivering an exceptional client experience and world class expertise to clients with Canada-U.S. cross-border financial planning considerations.

Cardinal Point is dedicated to meeting the needs of our clients in the areas of capital preservation, tax planning, risk management, and delivery of long-term investment returns through varying economic and market cycles.

Cardinal Point

Recently we were honored to describe our process and the rationale for our phenomenal growth by sitting as a panelist on a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) San Francisco Society event on Cross Border Planning & Investing Implications on November 8th.

A CFA is a professional designation given by the CFA Institute that measures the competence and integrity of financial analysts.

Candidates are required to pass three levels of exams covering areas such as accounting, economics, ethics, money management, and security analysis. Find out more about the CFA designation here: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/cfa.asp#ixzz5YXdCOJ1X

At this event, Matt Carvalho, Chief Investment Officer for Cardinal Point, laid out what he thought has been crucial to our firm’s growth: delivering significant value to a specific group of clients in areas such as customized financial planning, tax services, risk management, immigration status planning, and investment management.

The event was well attended, with a standing room only crowd of over 40 professionals related to the CFA SF Society, an indication that the interest and need for cross border planning are growing.

Audience questions ran a wide gamut but tended to focus around issues of currency conversion, licensing requirements, and financial planning/estate planning considerations for clients with assets and interests in multiple countries.

With a specialization in working with Canadian and US residents, Canadian and American expatriates, and those immigrating to Canada or the U.S. from abroad, we have the unique ability to oversee and advance the goals of our clients wherever they call home.

Cardinal Point clients enjoy the assurance that comes with having a team of experienced, multidisciplinary professionals working to build a comprehensive wealth plan tailored to their unique needs while focusing on creating long-term value for them.

Cross-border relocation can come with tough challenges, yet these are the issues that excite all employees at Cardinal Point. Solving these more complex financial planning questions is not only extremely helpful to our clients but very satisfying to us.

With unparalleled experience in the Canada/US space, we go to work everyday ready to work through all of the problems that impact our client’s lives.

https://cfa-sf.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=1049170&group=

Orlando Real Estate Investment Opportunity Due to Tourism Boom

Orlando is gifted with many theme parks, popular places, and destinations that appeal to tourism. In fact, the place is one of the most lucrative choices for tourists all over the world.

The place features great climate, secular ambiance and economically strong as well.

This has made Orlando a hotspot for real estate investments as well. Orlando properties are known for conventional yet romantic Orlando villas, comfy apartments and opulent penthouses, meant for holidays or business purposes. These are fully furnished and connected to the nearest airports.

Savvy investors are purchasing properties in Orlando because the place is one of the best in Florida, and the property market is flourishing here day by day!

The good news is when you compare to international property prices, Orlando’s property is low rated. Orlando’s booming economy in the tourism sector ensures that your investment will double in value in the next few years.

Based on the above, investing in Orlando houses can be a great investment opportunity which not only enables you to plan your dream vacation whenever you want but also helps you earn great profits by letting it to tourists.

If you want you can also sell these houses for great profits to companies that offer fast cash in return without any much legal formalities.

Just search over the internet “how to sell my house fast”  and you are provided with loads of reliable options with companies such as “Free YourSelf Investments”

However, when you are investing, you must be very careful to choose the right property for a maximum turn around. This requires a great deal of data and configuration.

Some investors purchase strictly residential property for a quick flip, while others invest in commercial buildings for a larger turnaround. Do your research properly and choose the one that suits your investment style best.

So why not plan for a great investment, we are sure that you will not regret the decision you make. Do not forget to get the help of a lawyer when you are ready for investing. Getting professional help will ensure that all the legal formalities are dealt with proper care and you do not face any issues later.