Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

Prince Harry told to become Canadian resident to SHIELD against US and UK taxes

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Harry and his wife Meghan Markle astonished royal fans when it was recently revealed they had purchased a lavish £11million property in Santa Barbara back in June. It is the first home the couple have bought together and they took out an extensive £7million mortgage to help cover the costs. However, as the pair continue to set up a permanent base in California, royal watchers have been left wondering what Harry will do in regards to his citizenship.

While Meghan and their son Archie are US citizens, Harry’s representatives have confirmed that he will not be seeking dual US-UK citizenship or a green card through his wife.

Yet, if he stays in the US for 121 days or more, then he is automatically a US resident and therefore has to pay income tax.

However, tax advisor David Lesperance suggested Harry could avoid this outcome by looking to Canada during an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk.

He said: “If I were to advise Harry, purely from a tax point of view — whether this looks good, and whether this fits the image, and whether this impacts their revenue production because of the image, I would recommend that he actually becomes a resident for tax purposes in Canada.

“And then use Canada as a shield against claims in the US and the UK, because unlike the UK and the US, Canada does not have an estate tax.

“Canada as a potential tax haven is quite attractive.”

The couple did initially spend time in Canada after their announcement back in January about leaving the Firm, and the nation has been hailed as a “tax haven”.

In a separate white paper published earlier this year, Mr Lesperance explained: “Canada has income and capital gains tax applied against worldwide taxation.

“However it is possible to greatly reduce or even eliminate Candian taxation of non-Canadian income and capital gains.

“This would require careful legal pre-immigration tax planning.

“Canada does not have an estate gift or wealth tax. Therefore at a minimum it is attractive as a place to acquire a ‘domicile of choice’ for anyone who wishes to avoid UK estate tax.”

Speaking to Express.co.uk last week, Mr Lesperance explained how Harry could go about using Canada’s tax laws to his advantage,

He said: “First, [Harry] would get an immigration status.”

He suggested the Duke of Sussex could use the self-employed status “for which he could pretty easily qualify” through his work as the founder of the Invictus Games.

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Mr Lesperance continued: “And that gets him permanent residence, and we then want him to have a home in Canada, be able to have wills and work out a domicile.

“We would have to build up things, and we wouldn’t want him to have to spend more than 120 days in the US — but let’s say he sets up in Vancouver Island, where he was staying.”

He pointed out that any days Harry spends commuting between Canada and the US would not count towards his 120 days in the States.

The tax expert said that federal and state taxes are based on counting days — and commuting days.

Mr Lesperance explained how Harry’s time will be divided between the US and the UK, but as long as neither of those are long enough to trigger Harry becoming a resident for tax purposes, he will be free to spend the rest of his time travelling the world.

He added that as long as Harry spends “some time in Canada”, he could qualify.

Yet, Mr Lesperance did concede that this may not appeal to Harry, especially as both his wife and son are likely to stay put in California.

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