Due to the nature and conditions of employment, most transport employees and long-haul truck drivers pay for their own meals and lodging expenses. These are expenses that are incurred while working away from the employer’s place of business.
You will claim the meals and lodging expenses on the TL2 form, Claim for Meals and Lodging Expenses. This form has to be approved and signed by your employer but you don’t have to send it to CRA unless they ask for proof. You will claim the expenses on line 22900 of your Income Tax and Benefit Return.
Types of Transport Employees
There are three types of transport employees: employees of a transport business, railways employees, and other types of transport employees.
Employees of a transport business
They are employees who work for buses, trucking (including long-haul trucks), railway, and airline employers who regularly travel away from the employer’s main business location.
The employees travel with vehicles provided by their employers to transfer goods or passengers. To qualify for the deduction, your job has to require you to travel regularly away from your municipality where the employer’s office is located. Your meals and have to be incurred while you are away and lodging has to be incurred if you have to spend the night away from home.
Long-haul truck drivers are those who drive a truck or a tractor for hauling freight, with a vehicle weighing more than 11,788 kilograms. These employees drive for at least 24 hours while transporting goods for at least 160 kilometers, and are usually away from the employer’s place of business.
You can deduct the full amount of lodging but only 50% of the meals expenses, unless you are a long-haul truck driver, you can claim 80% of your meals expenses.
To qualify for the employment expenses deductions under the definition of railway employees, you have to be employed as a station agent, maintained worker, or a telegrapher for a railway company.
Railways employees have to travel away from their municipality daily to the place of work, or they are relocated close to the station but away from their spouse or children home municipality which makes it difficult for them to return home daily.
If they travel daily to the workplace, then they can claim 50% of their meals expenses. but if they are relocated to live closer to their work station but away from their dependents, they can claim a flat rate of $34/day to cover their grocery expenses. the flat grocery rate is subject to the 50% rule as well.
Other transport employees
For those who work for employers that are not in the business of transporting goods or passengers, however, the employee’s main duty is to transport goods.
Transport Employees’ Allowable Expenses
Employees who incurred meal and lodging expenses while carrying on duties away from their employer’s place of business are allowed to deduct these expenses. These expenses are calculated for 24-hour periods, starting 4 hours from the time of the employee’s departure. The first meal can be claimed four hours after the start of the trip, then claim a meal every four hours after that.
You can claim the lodging expenses for the days you spent away from home. The long-haul truck drivers can claim the fees for the shower facilities if they choose this option instead of the hotel expenses but not both for the same day.
Calculating Meals and Lodging Expenses
There are three methods of claiming transport employees’ meals and lodging expenses. These expenses are calculated using the simplified, the detailed, and the batching method. Regardless of which method you use, you have to deduct the expenses by any non-taxable or reimbursement you get from your employer.
Using the simplified method
Regular and other transport employees may deduct 50% of the meal and beverage daily flat rate of $23.00 per meal.
Christopher was away from his municipality for 3 days transporting goods. He can claim $11.50 ($23.00 x 50 percent) per meal = $11.50 x 3 meals x 3 days = $103.50
Long-haul truck drivers, however, may deduct 80%, while long-haul truck drivers can claim $18.40 ($23.00 x 80 percent) per meal.
If Christopher was a long-haul driver, he will be able to claim: 80% x $23 x 3meals x 3 days = $165.60
Under the detailed method
Meal and beverage expenses are to be itemized. Employees must record information relating to the expenses, such as the date, the time, the location, the name of the restaurant or l place of lodging, the type of expenses, and the amount paid. Regular and other transport employees can claim 50% of these itemized expenses, and long-haul truck drivers can claim 80%.
The batching method
This method is applicable to transport employees whose employer provides them with cooking facilities such as railway stations. They are part of a group and buy groceries and cook either as a group or on their own. This method has a daily flat rate of $34.00, from which employees claim the appropriate percentage (50 percent for regular and other employees and 80 percent for long-haul truck drivers).
For Quebec residents, please review this link from Revenu Quebec to claim your provincial expenses.
Records to Keep
All transport employees are to write the amount spent on meals and lodging on Form TL2 in the Meals Bought column of Part 2, Trip and Expense Summary.
Other transport employees who are not railway employees or truck drivers, will need to fill the T777 form.
Employees using the detailed method should keep their receipts on file. Employees using the simplified or the batching method to claim a flat rate, however, do not need to keep their receipts. Nevertheless, they should keep detailed records of their trips.
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