Non-resident earning bank interest - must file tax return?
Simple question (I hope!):
If a non-resident of Canada (no ties to Canada, never resided here) earns interest on a savings account or GIC, does that person have to file a Canadian tax return? Is tax withheld at source for non-residents? In the case I'm referring to the annual interest would likely be over CAD 10 000.
According to Note in this CA document http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/nnrsdnts.../nnrs-eng.html
and the related non-resident tax calculator, interest you receive is not taxable, and not subject to Withholding tax.
It may be reportable as part of world-wide income in whichever country the non-resident is a resident of.
Mind you there is a bit of a Catch 22. Having a Canadian bank account with sufficient capital to generate that kind of interest may raise questions about whether the owner should be a "deemed resident" for tax purposes, rather than a non-resident, as possession of Canadian bank accounts may be deemed to be residential ties. This is a murky area and you may need a formal opinion from CRA for the specific circumstances.
I would say that you don't have to file in Canada based on earning simple interest, but you definitely have to report it as income in the USA (or wherever). If you're American, remember that you must file a form TD F 90-22.1 yearly.
It would be a stretch for the CRA to consider you a resident based on simply having a bank account in Canada.