Travel from home to a regular place of employment is usually a personal expenditure, the costs of which cannot be claimed as an employment expense. However, if the taxpayer is required to travel away from the employer’s place of business, amounts may be deductible by the employee.
A June 29, 2018 Tax Court of Canada case examined this issue. The taxpayer travelled from home to three different construction sites to carry on employment duties. Specifically, the taxpayer’s work for a Toronto construction corporation required frequent travel to sites requiring round trips of 167 km (Hamilton) and 92 km (Aurora), and infrequently to a site requiring a 94 km round trip (Whitby).
CRA argued that each was a regular place of employment, such that no deduction was available. The Court, however, concluded that this was travel “away from the employer’s place of business or in different places”, as required by the Income Tax Act. As such, the costs of this travel could qualify as deductible employment expenses.
While the taxpayer was not ultimately successful in his claim due to his receipt of an allowance from his employer, the case may provide a basis for business travel from home to a construction site.
As implied above, there are other conditions that must be met in order to deduct amounts against employment income. For example, the employee must not receive a non-taxable allowance in respect of the travel, and an appropriately completed T2200 from their employer must have been issued.
CAUTION ITEM: Although it may be possible deduct travel amounts against employment income, such amounts are often challenged by CRA.