What Happens to Your CPP and OAS if You Retire Outside Canada?

What happens to your retirement benefits if you relocate or retire outside of Canada? More and more Canadians are choosing retirement destinations with a lower cost of living and warmer climates.

Many retirees move abroad during the winter (snowbirds), while others leave Canada permanently, so what happens to the pension and security payments of such personnel? Please continue reading to learn what happens to your CPP, OAS, and other government benefits if you decide to move outside of Canada.

How to collect OAS while living abroad

Among the three main sources of retirement income for Canadians, Old Age Security (OAS) constitutes one of them. Eligible seniors can receive OAS benefits beginning at the age of 65. The OAS pension is paid out only to those who are 65 years or older and have lived in Canada continuously for at least 20 years after their 18th birthday to continue receiving the pension while living outside of Canada.

The need to reside and work in a country that has an agreement with Canada for social security may mean that you qualify for OAS even if you do not meet the 20-year requirement. You may also qualify if you do not leave Canada for more than 6 months per year.

If you lived in Canada as an adult for a long time, you will receive the maximum amount of OAS. For a full OAS pension, a resident must have lived in Canada for at least 40 years. A 20-year residency, for instance, is the equivalent of 20/40 of a full pension.

Immigrants who have not been Canadian residents for 20 years or who have not met the OAS residency requirement may lose their OAS payments if they leave for a longer period than 6 months. When you return to work, pension payments are resumed.

Paying taxes on OAS payments

Pension payments are subject to taxation based on your overall income and your tax classification, whether you are a resident, a non-resident, or a factual resident. A non-resident receiving an OAS benefit is usually subject to a default withholding tax of 25%. If your new home country has a tax deal with Canada, this tax could be reduced or even eliminated.

Due to the tax treaty that Canada has with the United States, for example, if you move to Florida or Arizona to enjoy a warm climate throughout the year, your OAS and CPP/QPP benefits are not subject to withholding tax.

When living abroad, is CPP collectible?

It is widely recognized that Canada's retirement income system is complemented by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). An average senior's average salary during their working years will be replaced by approximately 25 percent of the pension benefits. The Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) is the name given to this pension plan in Quebec.

The CPP can only be used by people who have worked and made contributions to the CPP or QPP. This is in contrast to OAS, which is a non-contributory benefit. CPP pensions can be received as early as age 65. 

Regardless of where you decide to permanently relocate to in Canada, your CPP benefits will continue even if you do not meet the OAS residency requirements since you are not required to remain in Canada. CPP and QPP pensions are subject to a flat 25% withholding tax rate, similar to what applies to OAS pensions unless you live in a country that has a tax treaty with Canada. In most cases, you will pay less tax in the country where you live because Canadian taxes have been taken out of your paychecks.

Can CPP survivors' benefits and child benefits be considered? The CPP survivor's pension and children's benefits are also available to any Canadian living outside of Canada, even if they have died.

The process of receiving your OAS and CPP payments abroad

OAS benefits, as well as CPP or QPP pensions, can be deposited into an account in your currency. Unless there are restrictions where you live, the Receiver General of Canada sends a check-in Canadian dollars made out to you.

To find out whether you are eligible for retirement benefits while outside of Canada, call Service Canada at 1-800-454-8731 or 1-613-957-1954 if you are from Canada or the U.S.

If you retire abroad, do you still receive provincial retirement benefits?

Low-income Canadians who reside permanently in the province and receive GIS/OAS are eligible to receive additional provincial retirement benefits such as the 55 Plus Program. This means that the chances of you qualifying for provincial benefits are extremely small if you are outside of Canada.

Conclusion

Canada's Old Age Security (OAS) is one of the main sources of retirement income for people in the country. The OAS pension is only for people who are 65 or older and have lived in Canada for at least 20 years after their 18th birthday.

The OAS pension is only for people who have lived in Canada for at least 20 years. When you get back to work, your pension payments start again. With the help of the Canada Pension Plan, Canada has a good retirement income system (CPP).

There is a 25% withholding tax rate on CPP and QPP pensions unless you live in a country that has a tax deal with Canada. If you live in a country that does not have a deal with Canada, you will be taxed on your CPP and QPP pensions.

Your money is paid for by the Receiver General of Canada. You can get the CPP survivor's pension for you and your kids even if you're living outside of Canada. It's possible that you'll have to pay a 25% withholding tax or less, but it's not certain.

Written By:
Salman Rundhawa
Salman Rundhawa is the founder of Filing Taxes. Salman provides valuable tax planning, accounting, and income tax preparation services in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, and Hamilton.

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