Taxes taxes taxes. I am pretty happy at this point that I am not getting paid in US Dollars right now. ehehehe. and my wife is quite happy about not thinking about taxes and budgeting and being so careful how you spend.
Relieved we are, because the best way to deal with taxes are to pay them. Well at least thats my official line and I'm sticking to it.
Know of any accountants ?
I have yet to find, or hear of an accountant specializing in seafarer taxes. The reason is pretty clear, as stated by the Finance minister's letter found in the tax section of www.dieselduck.net
, "we are not special"; so why should there be any special accountants. I had asked my brothers accountant in Victoria if he knew of anything special about seafarers, or someone who might and he was not comfortable in answering either. At the time he was the president of the CGA association of BC, so there you go.
We are professionals, act like it !
Having said that, I have used several strategies to reduce the impact and be legit while still being considered resident of Canada. You, as a marine engineer are a licensed professional and recognized as such by Revenue Canada - the industry code for engineer is 541330.
You make professional income from timed period contracts. Therefore your are allow to claim various expense which you made to achieve this income. Therefore you should be able to claim various and justifiable expenses and take them off your income. Things such as home office, meals and traveling if not reimbursed by the company. Bank fees for your US credit cards and account. Some long distance, portion of your internet service cost - you are on this website to better your professional situation are you not? If you have a spouse, they look after your affairs and bookkeeping and they should be compensated accordingly.
Dont forget about vehicle use. Just keep a mileage log, for us seafarers that is usually pretty simple since we only go to airport several times, or to the Transport Canada, or get you medical very seldom. Being driven to the airport 4 time a year might add up to 60 km each time, might not be much when it turns out that represents only 13% of your total yearly mileage, but hey 13% of those new tires, fuel, service, car wash and the likes add up.
Trouble brewing, so I though
Revenue Canada did call me one day wondering where were my GST contributions where. Having being scared that I forgot about that, I calmed down and chatted with them. It turns out that as a professional, my services should be subject to GST... only if my services were rendered in Canada. Therefore my international income is not subject to GST and therefore none to be forwards to them.
The trick is that you must be able to justify it and it should be within reason. Arbitrary terms yes, but i am certain that you have that voice in the back of your head guiding your moral compass.
Well ultimately, whats the worst that can happen ?
Ultimately if you don't have a moral compass and are like the government itself or the many shipping companies out there, one might argue, that when in Rome do as the Romans.
Why I pay an average 19% (last 6 years) of my marine engineering income to the Federal Government
I for one, want to raise my kids in stable family home free of unexpected pressures near their extended family, so that why I always remained above board. But if I was single, I am sure would lead a different life depending on the risks I am willing to accept.