Tax on US Pension/retirement funds in Ontario, Canada

03 July 24
Cross Border Tax


Dear Phil,

I was surfing the net looking for answers to how taxes in Canada are applied to US citizens, and I came across your Blog Post.

I am hoping you can help me understand more about taxation in Canada.

I am US citizen, 62 years old, retired and living in Canada with my spouse (a Canadian citizen) since July 2021.

I hold both the US citizenship and the Canadian residency (acquired July 2023). I have a pension account in the US.

I aware that if I need to withdraw from this account, I have to pay 25% federal tax and up to 5.9% Arkansas state tax.

According to the above, would I also be taxed in Canada on the amount I withdraw from my pension plan and which is taxed in the US?

Also, is the maximum exclusion for US expats ($126,500 per person 2024) applicable if I withdraw more than the max exclusion from my pension plan?

Thank you in advance




Thanks for the email.

You’ll want to get some official tax advice on this from a cross-border accountant; however, let me give you some general thoughts:

  • In most cases, states will not tax your pension if you’re a non-resident of the state. If they withhold tax, you can file a non-resident state return to recover the tax withholdings. You’ll want to get advice on this.
  • The exclusion you’re referencing below is the 2555 foreign earned income exemption. This does not apply to pensions and only applies to employment and self-employment income.
  • Since you moved to Canada in 2021, I’m assuming you’ve been filing both Canadian and US tax returns since then. As you likely know, the tax filings can be quite complex. Here’s a good summary of what you can expect to file:
  • With respect to the taxation of the pension:
    • When paid, they may withhold Federal and/or State taxes.
    • These amounts will not be final taxes and can be claimed as withholdings on your US and state returns (see note about the State return above).
    • The pension amount will be taxed both in Canada and the US. For Canadian purposes, the amounts will be converted to Canadian dollars and taxed on your T1 Canadian return. You might be able to split this income with your Canadian spouse.
    • The amounts will also be taxed for US purposes and any US/State taxes paid will be available as a foreign tax credit on your Canadian return.
    • In most cases, this simply means that you’ll pay your marginal Canadian tax rate on the pension income.

As mentioned above, cross-border taxes are quite complex and you’ll likely want a competent cross-border accountant to help. Also note that information returns such as US FBARs could also be required.

If you need help with your cross-border investments please feel free to book a complementary cross-border consultation here:

Hope that helps, and let me know if you have any other questions.





This commentary reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Beacon Hill Wealth Management Ltd. partner providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Beacon Hill Wealth Management Ltd. or performance returns of any Beacon Hill Wealth Management Ltd. client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing in this commentary constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Beacon Hill Wealth Management Ltd. manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any discussion about taxation is for educational purposes only and should not be viewed as professional advice. Consult your tax professional for tax advice on your particular situation.