Living in a border town surrounded by abundant natural lands, Saultites know Americans frequently cross the bridge to come enjoy the Canadian wilderness.
They also know those Americans often own land here in Canada, sometimes with the land having been passed down generation after generation.
Because many of those American-owned lands are important to conservation efforts in Canada, a unique American charity works to help American landowners transfer their properties to Canadian conservation groups to preserve the lands’ wildlife and natural habitats — and without having to pay hefty Canadian tax bills.
American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts has operated since 2007 with the goal of protecting Canada’s natural heritage by helping American owners of Canadian lands navigate their way through the complicated legal and tax requirements that come with being cross-border landowners.
“They often don’t know that they’re Canadian taxpayers and they can’t just give the land to their kids,” Sandra Tassel, American Friends program co-ordinator, told Sault This Week.
“We’ve had people come, ready to donate their property, and find out they have a whopping tax bill because they didn’t know they had to pay capital gains in Canada when they got it from their parents.”