If you are a long-haul truck driver and you incur meal and accommodation expenses, you can deduct a portion of these expenses on your income tax return. However, before claiming these expenses, it’s important to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements and understand how to correctly deduct these expenses.
Defining Long-Haul Truck Drivers
To be considered a long-haul truck driver by the Canada Revenue Agency, you must be an employee whose main duty is to transport goods, passengers or both using a long-haul truck. A long-haul truck is defined as a freight truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 11,788 kilograms.
Eligible Travel Periods
To deduct meal and lodging expenses, you must incur them during an eligible travel period.
An eligible travel period lasts for at least 24 hours and involves traveling at least 160 kilometres from your employer’s establishment where you usually report to work.
If you travel 160 kilometers round-trip and are away from home for 12 hours, you cannot deduct meal expenses during this time. This is because you did not travel far enough away and your travel period was not long enough.
On the other hand, if you traveled at least 160 kilometers one-way and were away from home for over 24 hours, you could deduct your meal and accommodation expenses.
You can deduct your accommodation expenses if you stay in a hotel, motel, etc. or the costs of shower facilities if you sleep in the vehicle. You will need to keep all the records and logs of travel distances in case CRA requires them.
You can also claim the lodging costs if you stay the night in the United States. Calculate the expenses in US dollars first then convert the total amount to Canadian dollars.
In most cases, people who travel for work may only claim 50% of their meals and beverage expenses. However, if you are a long-haul truck driver, you can deduct 80% of these expenses.
However, if you are claiming meal expenses incurred in the United States, you are entitled to 50% only of the costs.
To calculate meal expenses, you can use the simplified or detailed method.
The Simplified Method
If you opt to use the simplified method, you are allowed to have a meal every four hours starting four hours after your eligible travel period begins. This is up to a total of three meals per day at a rate of $23 per meal.
If you want to claim three meals per day, you multiply the meal rate of $23 by three for a total of $69. Then, multiple this number by 80% — the result of $55.20 is the amount you may claim.
If you use the simplified method, you do not have to keep meal receipts. However, you need to keep a detailed travel log to prove that you were on the road during the time period for which you claimed your meal allowance.
If you traveled to the United States, you will be able to claim a flat rate of $23 US dollars per meal. The maximum you can claim in the United States is 50% of the meals and beverage: 50% x $23 x 3 = $34.5 US dollars per day.
Using the detailed method, you need to keep all of your meal receipts and your travel log. You are allowed 3 meals per day. Simply add up the cost of your meals and multiply them by 80 percent to calculate your claim. Or by 50% if they were incurred in the United States.
For Quebec residents, please review this link from Revenu Quebec to claim your provincial expenses.
Completing Your Tax Return
To claim these expenses, fill out Form TL2, Claim for Meals and Lodging Expenses, which then transfers to line 22900 of your Income Tax and Benefit Return. If you are claiming GST/HST rebate, you will need to fill the GST370 form and claim the amount on line 45700 of your tax return.
TurboTax products offer an easy step-by-step guide to help you report the T2200 forms and fill out all related T777 and TL2 forms to get the maximum deductions you are eligible for. Consider TurboTax Live Assist & Review if you need further guidance, and get unlimited help and advice as you do your taxes, plus a final review before you file. Or, choose TurboTax Live Full Service* and have one of our tax experts do your return from start to finish.
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