Canadian hockey players in the NHL who play for American teams have specific planning needs and require the specialized advice of a cross-border financial advisor. This article by Cardinal Point’s Terry Ritchie looks at what cross-border issues professional athletes may face, including immigration, estate, tax and investment planning considerations.
Ritchie first examines the potential immigration pitfalls for athletes living and playing across the border. It’s important for these athletes to work closely with their advisors and immigration counsel to secure or extend their U.S. work visas, apply for permanent residence with a U.S. Green Card, or ultimately become a naturalized U.S. citizen. Ritchie illustrates potential immigration issues with a case study of an athlete who faced these hurdles and partnered with his advisors and immigration attorney throughout the long, complicated immigration process.
The article goes on to look at the onerous tax consequences that can come with expatriating back to one’s home country after an athletic career in the U.S. The dreaded U.S. Expatriation Tax holds that a player who has a U.S. Green Card for more than eight years is classified as a long-term resident and could potentially face a significant two-fold tax hit when leaving the U.S.
Ritchie goes on to illustrate some of the woes that can come when advisors lead their athlete clients to bend compliance or CRA rules. He uses a case study to show how compliance violations can also result in a number of adverse Canadian and U.S. income tax problems. Finally, the article looks at the need for estate planning if a player is domiciled in the U.S., marries a U.S. citizen, has children in the states, and/or has non-U.S. beneficiaries.