GGFL is delighted to announce that Monica Martinez is our new Associate Partner.
Monica Martinez is a specialist in U.S. and Cross-Border Tax & Advisory Services – a fast growing, increasingly complex area of taxation impacting thousands of Canadian businesses and individuals for myriad reasons.
The level of cross-border activity has grown exponentially in recent years, said GGFL Managing Partner Josh Engel, and the related domestic and foreign tax legislation has become increasingly complex and is constantly changing.
Monica’s promotion to Associate Partner reflects both her proven expertise in cross-border taxation and the growing number of clients coming to the firm for this type of advice, he said.
“Keeping up to date on this legislation is essential in today’s world,” said Josh. “With over 25 years of experience in this area, and a reputation for quality client service, we are confident in Monica’s ability to lead GGFL’s U.S. & Cross-Border Tax Services both to proactively address the needs of our existing clients and assist new clients as their personal or business needs arise.”
Monica was born in Chile and came to Canada with her family when she was seven-years-old.
“My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic at a young age, as I witnessed their perseverance, hard work and dedication to build a new life in Canada and provide my sister and me with more opportunities. I always knew I wanted a career where I could help and interact with people, and make a positive impact in their lives”, she said.
Her original professional goal was a career in medicine but instead she followed in her family’s footsteps – her sister is an accountant, as were her parents.
When she isn’t navigating cross-border tax issues, Monica enjoys running, cycling, swimming, practicing yoga, and (someday soon again, hopefully) travelling.
Cross-border taxation affects U.S. citizens living in Canada even if they haven’t been to the United States or ever worked there. It affects Canadians who own or rent real estate in the United States and it affects businesses if they operate stateside, or simply export goods to the United States.
And add to that another layer of complexity: Each U.S. state has its own tax statutes that can add to the already onerous compliance requirements of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). And there are also Canada Revenue Agency obligations to address.
It can all add up to a stressful, form filing nightmare – not to mention a costly one.
“In the past, it was easier for people to stay under the radar when they were not complying,” said Monica, “but recently, we have been seeing significant penalties being assessed. And now, because of the pandemic and the related spending, all governments are looking to raise money. We can expect to see more CRA and IRS audits because the tax authorities are aware that significant non-compliance by cross-border taxpayers exists and is therefore an obvious target on both sides of the border.”
The increasingly stringent U.S. cross-border tax laws are also encouraging more and more dual American-Canadian citizens to renounce their American citizenship. Simply put, to avoid unexpected punitive tax implications, an American citizen should not renounce their citizenship without proper planning and until they become compliant with their U.S. tax filings.
Key to avoiding punitive IRS penalties is to proactively and voluntarily catch up on your delinquent filings, advises Monica. If the IRS contacts you before you contact them, the available Voluntary Disclosure Programs are immediately off the table.
“Our end goal is to save money for our clients and to try to simplify their lives,” she said. “But the process is complicated. I open my e-mail and every day there are new, challenging and interesting cross-border tax situations to address. It is exciting and a never ending learning experience”.
“I do love my job – helping my clients navigate through complex tax situations as they move, work or do business across borders is very rewarding.”