The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers a range of out-of-country travel deductions to offset the expenses involved with international journeys. Only certain travel expenses qualify. In most cases, your trip must be for medical or business purposes to claim a deduction.
Employment Travel Expenses
Taxpayers who are required to travel for work may claim food, beverage and lodging expenses on their income tax returns.
In order to qualify:
- You must have paid for your own trip, AND
- Your employer must not have reimbursed you.
To assure the CRA you and your employer have this type of arrangement, have your employer fill out a Form T2200 (Declaration of Conditions of Employment) and keep that form with your financial records.
You may claim 50 percent of your food and beverage costs only if your trip exceeds 12 hours in length. However, if your food and beverage costs are unreasonably excessive, the CRA requires you to base your claim on a more reasonable amount. For example, if you spend $10 on lunch, you may claim $5 as a travel expense. However, if you spend $1,000 on dinner and you could have had a reasonably comparable dining experience for $300, you may not claim $500. Instead, you may only claim $150.
Travel Expenses for International Medical Services
- If you must travel out of the country to receive medical care, you may write off your travel expenses for that international journey.
- If your doctor certifies in writing that you need an attendant to help you travel, you may also deduct your attendant’s traveling expenses.
In order to qualify:
- The medical services you receive must not be readily available near your home, AND
- You must travel at least 80 kilometres away from your home.
Public transportation vs driving
- If public transit is available, such as buses, trains or airplanes, to take you to your destination, you may write off the cost of your ticket.
- However, you may write off the cost of driving yourself only if public transit is not available.
Travel Medical Insurance
Whether you are traveling for medical procedures, business purposes or just entertainment, you may write off the cost of your travel medical insurance premiums. If you buy a comprehensive travel insurance policy, you may only deduct the portion of the policy’s premium related to travel medical insurance.
You may not deduct premiums for trip cancellation or other types of travel insurance.