On October 7, 2014, the I.R.S. released Revenue Procedure 2014-55, which provides guidance for U.S. citizens or residents who own a Canadian Registered Retirement Savings Plan (“R.R.S.P.”). In short, U.S. citizens/Canadian residents, Canadian citizens/U.S. residents, and dual citizens will no longer need to file Form 8891 to defer the accrued R.R.S.P./R.R.I.F income for U.S. tax purposes. The deferral will now occur automatically, assuming the individual is “eligible.” These new procedures will apply even if the contributions to the R.R.S.P./R.R.I.F. were made as a resident of Canada.
However, practitioners should note that this does not alleviate the need to file Form 8938 or FinCen Form 114 upon receiving a distribution from an R.R.R.P.
An individual who is both a U.S. citizen/resident and a beneficiary of a R.R.S.P will be subject to current U.S. income taxation on income accrued in the plan even though the income is not currently distributed to the beneficiary. In Canada, the individual is not subject to Canadian income taxation until the accrued income is actually distributed from the plan. This leads to a mismatch in the timing of the U.S. tax and the Canadian tax, resulting in possible double taxation.
Article XVIII, Paragraph 7 of the U.S.-Canada Income Tax Convention (the “Treaty”) provides that an individual may defer U.S. taxation on income accumulated in an R.R.S.P., but only if the individual makes an annual election to defer the taxation of income.