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Old 05-27-2007, 09:34 PM   #126
Bobo Fett
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Well, I'll defer to an actual tax expert on that part, but it's hard for me to imagine a scenario where rakeback would be taxable while poker winnings would not be. Not only that, but you're getting rake back...IE you're simply getting back something that you already paid.
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Old 05-27-2007, 09:44 PM   #127
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

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Hi TorontoCFE,

My poker profits from last year were in the 7 figure range, about half online, and half from live tourneys. I just got an opinion from a 2nd tax lawyer here in Ottawa, and they have both said after reviewing all of my facts, and making many comparisons to past cases, that I should not be taxed. Also, since I have their written opinions, I can never be charged with negligence.

I'm curious if anybody, particularly TorontoCFE, has a response to this as I've had three differing opinions myself. Two of those from tax lawyers.
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Old 05-27-2007, 09:46 PM   #128
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Were you taxable, then the amount that would be income would be the difference between what you started with and what you ended with. If you start with $100 and end the year with $500, you have income of $400.

Non-cash items like free travel shuld be included in income at a fair market price, however you could also deduct them if they were related to the income producing activity so the net effect is 0 and you might as well not worry about it.
If you were such a high roller you were given a free car say, then it would be techically taxable if you "earned" it as a pro.

Rakeback is the same. It is taxable in the sense that if it helps you leave with more money, the extra money from rakebak would be taxable as additional income.
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Old 05-27-2007, 09:50 PM   #129
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

It depends on each unique set of circumstances.

I think most tournament winnings would be exempt unless you were a full-time circuit player.
Cash game earnings are entirely dependent on facts - I have always said 98% of players would not be taxable.
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Old 05-27-2007, 10:22 PM   #130
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Rake back is always figured as part of your net results.

What you look at is how much you start the year with and how much you end the year with (adjusted for any deposits and withdrawals). How it got there doesn't matter.

Few people are taxable but those that are would have a taxable income based on their net results, bottom line.
Rake is automatically deducted as an expense. Rakeback if you get it then gets added to your final result.

It makes no difference whether you win $12 or win $10 and get $2 rakeback. For a taxable person, you pay based on $12 income.
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Old 05-27-2007, 10:56 PM   #131
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Hello CFE. Interesting information you are giving, much appreciated.

I'm curious about something. I'm a full time high school teacher so I assume my poker winnings aren't taxable. If I gross $50K/year teaching, how much would I have to be making playing poker before it was taxable (I play mostly online sit and gos if that matters), or is there a limit at all?

Ryan
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Old 05-28-2007, 12:54 AM   #132
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:
Quote:
A poster in the another thread stated that it does not necessarily have to do with how much you won but by the frequency of your activity. This is absolutely correct.
That wasn't exactly what I said. Frequency is also, in and of itself, not the determining factor - despite what the taxman would like you to believe. Rather, I believe frequency is the tip off to cause them to investigate your winnings...

---------------------------

What is a business?
- Need to figure out what business income is and separate it from windfall gains.
- Subsection 248(1) defines business to include “profession, calling, trade, manufacture, or undertaking of any kind whatever and…an adventure or concern in the nature of trade but does not include an office or employment” (not exhaustive).

- case law has established that it is an organized activity carried on with reasonable expectation of profit.

The definiton of business is broad and encompasses more than what is traditionally refered to as a "business". Organization is a fundamental component of business...

Graham v. Green (Inspector of Taxes) [1925] T.C.
Facts:
- appellant betting on horses, large and sustained scale and made an income (means of living), was assessed to income tax and this was appeal

Issue:
- are winnings on bets “profits or gains”? or assuming the winnings themselves aren’t, are the aggregate of his winnings? Are the profits or gains a “vocation” or possibly a trade or adventure?

Held:
- mere receipt by finding an object of value or mere gift is not a profit or gain
- bet is merely an irrational agreement that one person should pay another on the happening of an event (no relevance between the event and acquisition of property), event doesn’t really produce it at all
- a bookmaker carries on a taxable vocation (calculates odds and quotes them), organizes an effort
- man who bets with the bookmaker is a mere better, he is not organizing an effort in the same way a bookmaker does
- habit of betting, there is no tax on a habit, not profits or gains, appeal allowed

Decision in favour of appellant (Good Citizen). Establishes that frequency of betting is in itself not a determining factor. Important criteria is "organization", which was lacking in this case.

Walker v. M.N.R. [1951] Exch. Ct.
Facts:
- farmer who attended horse races, earnings from owning horses and gained through betting

Issue:
- do gambling activities constitute a business?

Held:
- crucial point is was he betting for a hobby, pure amusement or systematically carrying on with a view to making money?
- Factors are he had an interest in several race horsed, had inside information from jockeys etc., for 10yrs he systematically attended all races, this constitutes a business or calling and monies are therefore taxable

Decision in favor of respondent (Evil Tax Man). Establishes factors of "organization", including financial interest, systematic approach, inside information (risk minimization).

M.N.R. v. Harry Edgar Morden [1961] Exch. Ct.
Facts:
- minister appeals from decision where income tax appeal board allowed respondent’s appeals from reassessments in relation to net gains from gambling activities
- owned a hotel, for a period the operation of hotel was not his only or main business interest, owned a racing stable and owned horses, trained and raced horses and placed bets
- his gambling activities up to 1948 were so organized and occupied that if continued through years in question it would have been income from a business
- submitted that in years in question his gambling was only occasional and nothing more than hobby

Issue:
- are these gains part of the respondent’s taxable income?

Held:
- to be taxable the gambling gain must be derived from carrying on a “business”
- casual winnings or occasional race bets are not subject to tax
- test is to look at intention, to conduct enterprise of a commercial character or to entertain himself (Lala Indra Sen)
- here no evidence that during years in question it was of commercial character
- while his bets were high sometimes and gains substantial no evidence of carrying on a business (was a hobby)
- appeal dismissed

Decision in favor of respondent (Good Citizen). Establishes that Dollar Value is not relevant. Intention, hobby or business is critical factor. Further establishes that it is possible to be in the business of gambling at one time, and in the hobby of gambling at another!

Epel v. Queen and Luprypa v. Canada I've provided a link to in the US thread.. here's a partial reproduction:

There is the case Epel V. Queen [2003] Tax Court Of Canada decided in favour of the Good Citizen. The Evil Tax Man was unable to demonstrate professional conduct, as Epel (our hero) did not study, practice, take notes, seek favorable playing conditions, access advantageous or priveleged information, and was drunk most of the time. And also the case Luprypa v. Canada [1997] where the Evil Tax Man did manage to demonstrate professional conduct. Included in the reasons for judgement in the Luprypa case:

a) He carefully managed the risks.
b) He was a skilled player.
c) He played Monday through to Friday each week.
d) He spent his afternoons playing snooker to perfect his skills.
e) He played inebriated opponents after 11:00 p.m. to minimize his risk.
f) He won most of the time earning, approximately $200.00 daily.
g) He drank alcoholic beverages only on weekends when not playing pool to give him a sober advantage over his inebriated opponents.
h) He was calculating and disciplined.
i) It was his primary source of income and he relied on this steady income.

Material was taken from these sources. (italics above are my own non-professional interpretations):
http://www.google.ca/url?sa=U&start=....doc&e=7781
and,
http://decision.tcc-cci.gc.ca/cgi-bin/si...&bouton.y=5

Clearly, there exist situations where it is absolutely clear the individual's conduct cannot possibly be classified as a hobby - therefore cannot be a non taxable windfall.

It appears, of themselves, frequency and dollar value are not determining factors; whereas, being organized and systematic with a reasonable expectation of profit are primary factors in the determination of "being in the business".
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Old 05-28-2007, 04:57 PM   #133
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:
It depends on each unique set of circumstances.

I think most tournament winnings would be exempt unless you were a full-time circuit player.
Cash game earnings are entirely dependent on facts - I have always said 98% of players would not be taxable.
I don't think Myst is a full time circuit player, but he played several tournaments last year with much success (dollar wise). He's also had a lot of success in cash games. He considers himself a poker professional and I don't believe that he works aside from poker. I'm just wondering what would make these two tax lawyers say that he shouldn't pay tax. Would also like to hear from Myst as the rationale the lawyers gave for their opinions.
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Old 05-28-2007, 05:09 PM   #134
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

I have a couple question:

1) How does the government know how much you earned through poker, other than what you have wired/check dep./transfered from poker bank to local bank?

2) How can they know if you only played 1 tourney (Sunday Mil.) and won 6 figures, as opposed to grinding cash games 6hrs a day. The first would be windfall(or whatever its called) whereas the second would be "playing to profit"? How can they know?

Thank you very much.
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Old 05-28-2007, 05:17 PM   #135
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Also, should I start opening offshore accounts, make accounts in the name of family members, gf? anyone doing this??

lol, seriously
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Old 05-28-2007, 05:50 PM   #136
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:
I have a couple question:

1) How does the government know how much you earned through poker, other than what you have wired/check dep./transfered from poker bank to local bank?

2) How can they know if you only played 1 tourney (Sunday Mil.) and won 6 figures, as opposed to grinding cash games 6hrs a day. The first would be windfall(or whatever its called) whereas the second would be "playing to profit"? How can they know?

Thank you very much.
I find it amazing how many people on 2p2 pay/or want to pay taxes on online poker winnings.
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:10 PM   #137
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:
I find it amazing how many people on 2p2 pay/or want to pay taxes on online poker winnings.

I don't think it's a matter of people wanting to pay taxes, it's more like no one wants to pay any if they can avoid it. That said, if you have significant other sources of income or future net worth it's best to get all the facts before you think about not paying your taxes.

Like the poster above who made 7 figures from cash and tournies. My guess is he's going to make a lot more in the years to come and it's probably not worth it to start evading taxes. He'll have a lot more to lose if he gets into trouble somehow, so it's best to get all the facts and get many second opinions. I don't think the law now is that grey anymore.

To be honest if I was a small stakes player going to school and didn't make too much, I wouldn't worry about it at all. A lot of 2+2ers spent quite a bit of time online and make substantial amounts of money even at relatively small limits so it's best to be a little more informed.
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:18 PM   #138
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:
I find it amazing how many people on 2p2 pay/or want to pay taxes on online poker winnings.
When the definition of "windfall" versus an "expectation of profit" is determined on a case-by-case basis, most people would rather sleep well at night having paid the tax.
(That is, rather than get arrested for tax fraud and sleep on a rat-feces infested bunkbed underneath Bubba Smith, who murdered his mother while she slept.)

Alexos, it also depends on how many hours you've spent over that year playing poker. If you enter one tournament only, and happen to win 6 figures, you've got a much better case for "windfall" than "expectation of profit". If you've also played cash games for the same six hours a day and had NO profit from those during that period, it's pretty hard to claim that 6 hours/day is a pastime that does not constitute self-employment, in spite of all of your profit coming from the one tournament win.

I believe I have said before in this thread (and if I haven't, TorontoCFE has), it's all about "money in" versus "money out". Unless you can prove to them via records where the money came from, all they will see is the net increase in your net worth, consider that as income, and ask "Where is my 29%?" (assuming you are paying the top marginal tax rate at the federal level)

And, for the record, I didn't claim my winnings for 2006 as income, and it is VERY unlikely I will do so for 2007 without further clarification from CCRA (or an Aba-esque rise through NL cash game play ... hey, it *might* happen).
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Old 05-28-2007, 07:05 PM   #139
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

I'm a cash game grinder, so this would definitly be taxable since I will not be able to prove windfall. What I might do is start playing some big MTT's like on Sundays. I will eventually have some big wins, and even though it might be close to 0Ev to play them, when I will cash big, I will use the pokerstars summaries to prove CRA my withdrawals correspond to these big MTT wins. In reality I would have made 0$ from tourneys b/c I suck, but I would have transformed my cash game winnings into "windfall".

TaDa?

Alexos
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Old 05-28-2007, 07:43 PM   #140
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:
Quote:
I find it amazing how many people on 2p2 pay/or want to pay taxes on online poker winnings.

I don't think it's a matter of people wanting to pay taxes, it's more like no one wants to pay any if they can avoid it. That said, if you have significant other sources of income or future net worth it's best to get all the facts before you think about not paying your taxes.

Like the poster above who made 7 figures from cash and tournies. My guess is he's going to make a lot more in the years to come and it's probably not worth it to start evading taxes. He'll have a lot more to lose if he gets into trouble somehow, so it's best to get all the facts and get many second opinions. I don't think the law now is that grey anymore.

To be honest if I was a small stakes player going to school and didn't make too much, I wouldn't worry about it at all. A lot of 2+2ers spent quite a bit of time online and make substantial amounts of money even at relatively small limits so it's best to be a little more informed.

For the guy who makes 7 figures playing poker, I can understand paying taxes on the live winnings but for everyone else who makes 5 figures from ONLINE, it's tough for me to understand voluntarily paying when it is still so much of a gray area. I seriously doubt anyone in Canada can get jail time for "evading ONLINE poker" profits even if poker falls under "expectation of profit". I think a fine is the most anyone can get and even that is remote. If the CRA makes a new law that explicitly talks about online gaming/poker, then I would definitely pay, but the way it stands now.....I will take my chances of getting fined.
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Old 05-28-2007, 10:27 PM   #141
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

A cut asnd paste from the reveunve canada about windfalls

Windfalls


3. Subject to the comments in the current version of IT-213, Prizes From Lottery Schemes, Pool System Betting and Giveaway Contests, and those in 4 and 10 below concerning Voluntary Payments and Gambling Profits, a taxpayer in receipt of an amount which can be described as a "windfall" is not subject to tax on the amount. Factors indicating that a particular receipt is a windfall include the following:

(a) the taxpayer had no enforceable claim to the payment,

(b) the taxpayer made no organized effort to receive the payment,

(c) the taxpayer neither sought after nor solicited the payment,

(d) the taxpayer had no customary or specific expectation to receive the payment,

(e) the taxpayer had no reason to expect the payment would recur,

(f) the payment was from a source that is not a customary source of income for the taxpayer,

(g) the payment was not in consideration for or in recognition of property, services or anything else provided or to be provided by the taxpayer, and

(h) the payment was not earned by the taxpayer as a result of any activity or pursuit of gain carried on by the taxpayer and was not earned in any other manner.

The factors above are based on those set out in the decision of The Queen v. Cranswick, (1982) CTC 69, 82 DTC 6073 (F.C.A.).
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Old 05-29-2007, 12:22 AM   #142
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:
Quote:
It depends on each unique set of circumstances.

I think most tournament winnings would be exempt unless you were a full-time circuit player.
Cash game earnings are entirely dependent on facts - I have always said 98% of players would not be taxable.
I don't think Myst is a full time circuit player, but he played several tournaments last year with much success (dollar wise). He's also had a lot of success in cash games. He considers himself a poker professional and I don't believe that he works aside from poker. I'm just wondering what would make these two tax lawyers say that he shouldn't pay tax. Would also like to hear from Myst as the rationale the lawyers gave for their opinions.
Yeah I don't understand this either. If Myst doesn't have to pay taxes according to those tax lawyers than no Canadian poker players do.

Man that would piss me off not only paying taxes on poker but knowing that some better players who make tons more playing full time are somehow avoiding paying them.

The stupid CRA can't even make their laws clear yet they expect us to just be honest and pay taxes we might not even have to.
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Old 05-29-2007, 03:24 AM   #143
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Hey guys, me again. I posted this in another thread, reposting it here. A few things have changed since my last post, including much bigger wins this year.

I'm in the same situation as most of you, only I'm probably a bigger target for the CRA. My profits last year were around $1 million, and this year a little over $2.5 million. There are my first 2 years of professional play, and most of it is easily trackable because they are live tournament winnings.

My financial advisor told me to incorporate myself, which I did, and we moved all of the funds into my business account, and then into my current investment portfolio. We are submitting our case to the CRA, so that we get a decisive ruling right away. Could this be a bad idea? The only thing I know is that I don't want to break any laws.

My financial advisor has tried to assure me that even if they decide to tax me, I will end up having to pay very little taxes, after making investments in flow-through shares and other tax-credit investments, and write-offs.

I'm still a little worried though. Does anyone with knowledge in the field see any holes in my plan? My last resort would be to detach myself from Canada and become a non-resident for 6 months plus a day, and then my earnings for 2007 would be non-taxable. Is there a minimum number of years I would have to stay out of Canada before I could return?
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:31 AM   #144
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Thanks for the update Myst1. Please let us know how it goes.
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Old 05-29-2007, 02:33 PM   #145
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:
Hey guys, me again. I posted this in another thread, reposting it here. A few things have changed since my last post, including much bigger wins this year.

I'm in the same situation as most of you, only I'm probably a bigger target for the CRA. My profits last year were around $1 million, and this year a little over $2.5 million. There are my first 2 years of professional play, and most of it is easily trackable because they are live tournament winnings.

My financial advisor told me to incorporate myself, which I did, and we moved all of the funds into my business account, and then into my current investment portfolio. We are submitting our case to the CRA, so that we get a decisive ruling right away. Could this be a bad idea? The only thing I know is that I don't want to break any laws.

My financial advisor has tried to assure me that even if they decide to tax me, I will end up having to pay very little taxes, after making investments in flow-through shares and other tax-credit investments, and write-offs.

I'm still a little worried though. Does anyone with knowledge in the field see any holes in my plan? My last resort would be to detach myself from Canada and become a non-resident for 6 months plus a day, and then my earnings for 2007 would be non-taxable. Is there a minimum number of years I would have to stay out of Canada before I could return?

You can't trust any of those Professional Tax Advisors, Lawyers or Accountants.

You've come to the right place.
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Old 05-29-2007, 02:57 PM   #146
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:
Quote:
Hey guys, me again. I posted this in another thread, reposting it here. A few things have changed since my last post, including much bigger wins this year.

I'm in the same situation as most of you, only I'm probably a bigger target for the CRA. My profits last year were around $1 million, and this year a little over $2.5 million. There are my first 2 years of professional play, and most of it is easily trackable because they are live tournament winnings.

My financial advisor told me to incorporate myself, which I did, and we moved all of the funds into my business account, and then into my current investment portfolio. We are submitting our case to the CRA, so that we get a decisive ruling right away. Could this be a bad idea? The only thing I know is that I don't want to break any laws.

My financial advisor has tried to assure me that even if they decide to tax me, I will end up having to pay very little taxes, after making investments in flow-through shares and other tax-credit investments, and write-offs.

I'm still a little worried though. Does anyone with knowledge in the field see any holes in my plan? My last resort would be to detach myself from Canada and become a non-resident for 6 months plus a day, and then my earnings for 2007 would be non-taxable. Is there a minimum number of years I would have to stay out of Canada before I could return?

You can't trust any of those Professional Tax Advisors, Lawyers or Accountants.

You've come to the right place.
I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic, but I'm assuming you are.

To me it seems like the people you listed have no idea about this issue either. I think that someone with some legal or accounting experience but with poker knowledge might be almost as helpful as an experienced accountant or tax lawyer with absolutely no experience in poker or gambling taxation.

And it seems like Canada has very few professional gamblers. So that means there are even fewer of these tax professionals with tax experience related to gambling. The CRA also doesn't seem to want to elaborate on their laws.

To me it seems like the Canadians who pay taxes on their poker winnings do it because of a "better safe than sorry" attitude. But if you call up these tax firms then they seem just as confused as the rest of us.
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:01 PM   #147
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:

I'm still a little worried though. Does anyone with knowledge in the field see any holes in my plan? My last resort would be to detach myself from Canada and become a non-resident for 6 months plus a day, and then my earnings for 2007 would be non-taxable. Is there a minimum number of years I would have to stay out of Canada before I could return?
My understanding of this is that you would basically have to renounce your Canadian citizenship. Staying out of the country for 188 days will not change the tax jurisdiction in the CRA's eyes.

Please keep us posted on the ruling you receive. I was about to the do the same, but will await the decision they give you. This should be interesting.

I'm surprised there is such a great benefit in incorporating yourself. I suppose if the corporation doesn't have to pay any taxes that would make the difference, but you'll still have to pay personal income tax when you want to take money out of the company. Also, do they care if you earned the $$'s pre-Myst Inc. and move them later on into Myst Inc.? My knowledge here is very, very limited and hope to hear more from those that know. Thanks.
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:15 PM   #148
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

That's definitly not right. Canada taxes based on residence, as do most other countries in the world. One of the only ones that uses citizenship as a basis for taxation is the US
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Old 05-29-2007, 07:21 PM   #149
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:

You can't trust any of those Professional Tax Advisors, Lawyers or Accountants.

You've come to the right place.
I've honestly talked to about 20 professionals, and I don't think any 2 answers were exactly the same. There are very few professional poker player who reside in Canada, meaning almost no professionals have experience with this. TorontoCFE and a few others seem to really know what they are talking about, and I was hoping to get some answers.
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Old 05-30-2007, 01:15 AM   #150
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Re: Canadian Online Poker Tax Thread

Quote:
That's definitly not right. Canada taxes based on residence, as do most other countries in the world. One of the only ones that uses citizenship as a basis for taxation is the US
My mistake. I think I spent too much time reading threads on US citizens wanting to take up residence elsewhere for tax purposes. Nevertheless, it's not as straightforward as simply moving to Bolivia for 188 days a year and then coming back to Canada. For those interested here's a link to some gripping words from the CRA in this regard: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tp/it...lid-e.html#P19


Myst, of course, would still be liable for the millions he's made over the last two years while living in Canada.
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