Moving to Canada to play online poker not as easy as advertised

TAGs: Black Friday, Canada, Daniel Cates, Phil Galfond


Poutine: worth renouncing US citizenship?

The events of Black Friday led many a US poker player to make loud public proclamations that, if their government was hell bent on depriving them of their right to play online poker from the comfort of their home, they would find a new country to call home. Naturally, a lot of these proclamations amounted to little more than frustrated venting, as few players (a) had the financial resources to make such a move, or (b) were willing to sever (even temporarily) their ties to family, friends or distinctly American institutions like White Castle.

But with the 2011 World Series of Poker in the books, some high-profile players have made good on their threats by upping sticks and settling abroad, mostly in Canada. These include 2008 WSOP bracelet holder Phil ‘OMGClayAiken’ Galfond, who was back in action on PokerStars this past weekend. New York native Galfond tweeted from his new digs in Vancouver that he’d be “staying here for 3-6 months and then re-evaluating” the situation.

Daniel ‘jungleman12’ Cates’ experience wasn’t as smooth. His attempt to temporarily emigrate to Vancouver on July 27 met a rude end when he was denied entry by Canadian border officials. Cates was apparently unaware that, as a self-employed professional, a temporary work visa was required. D’oh, Canada! Last we checked, Cates was headed back to Seattle to see about getting his necessary paperwork in order. So did Galfond have his visa in hand when he crossed the 49th parallel, or did he just cross on a day when the border guard was drowsy and inattentive after a carb-heavy lunch of poutine?

In case anyone’s interested, by 2014, the Internal Revenue Service will require foreign banks to identify all accounts held by US citizens. The US government also requires its citizens to file IRS tax returns every year, no matter what country they currently call ‘home’. If you’re paying taxes in, say, Canada, the IRS will apply that figure to what it claims you owe them. But failure to file a US return means steep penalties will apply no matter how many loonies you send to the accountants in Ottawa. Food for thought, eh?


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