Line 8523 – Meals and entertainment

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Claiming food and beverage expenses

The maximum amount you can claim for food, beverages, and entertainment expenses is 50% of the lesser of the following amounts:

  • the amount you incurred for the expenses
  • an amount that is reasonable in the circumstances

When you claim expenses on this line, you will have to calculate the allowable part you can claim for business use.

These limits also apply to the cost of your meals when you travel or go to a convention, conference, or similar event. However, special rules can affect your claim for meals in these cases. For more information, go to Line 9200 – Travel expenses and Convention expenses.

These limits do not apply if any of the following apply:

  • Your business regularly provides food, beverages, or entertainment to customers for compensation (for example, a restaurant, hotel, or motel).
  • You bill your client or customer for the meal and entertainment costs, and you show these costs on the bill.
  • You include the amount of the meal and entertainment expenses in an employee's income or would include them if the employee did not work at a remote or special work location. In addition, the amount cannot be paid or payable for a conference, convention, seminar, or similar event and the special work location must be at least 30 kilometres from the closest urban centre with a population of 40,000 or more. For more information about urban centres, go to Statistics Canada's Population and Dwelling Count Highlight Tables.
  • You incur meal and entertainment expenses for an office party or similar event, and you invite all your employees from a particular location. The limit is six such events per year.
  • The meal and entertainment expenses you incur are for a fund-raising event that was mainly for the benefit of a registered charity.
  • You provide meals to an employee housed at a temporary work camp constructed or installed specifically to provide meals and accommodation to employees working at a construction site (note that the employee cannot be expected to return home daily).

Entertainment expenses include tickets and entrance fees to an entertainment or sporting event, gratuities, cover charges, and room rentals such as for hospitality suites. For more information, go to Interpretation Bulletin IT-518, Food, Beverages, and Entertainment Expenses.

Long-haul truck drivers

Expenses for food and beverages consumed by a long-haul truck driver during an eligible travel period are deductible at 80%.

An eligible travel period is a period of at least 24 continuous hours throughout which the driver is away from the municipality and metropolitan area that he or she resides in (the residential location) and is driving a long-haul truck that transports goods to, or from a location that is beyond a radius of at least 160 kilometres from the residential location.

Extra food and beverages consumed by self-employed foot and bicycle couriers and rickshaw drivers

Self-employed foot and bicycle couriers and rickshaw drivers can deduct the cost of the extra food and beverages they must consume in a normal working day (8 hours) because of the nature of their work.

The daily flat rate that can be claimed is $23.

If you are claiming this deduction, you should be prepared to provide logbooks showing the days worked and the hours worked on each of these days during the tax year. The CRA may also ask for dispatch slips or other documents to support the days worked during the tax year.

If you want to claim more than the flat-rate amount, the CRA will also need all the following items:

  • supporting receipts for all food and beverages claimed
  • a document that clearly shows the extra amount of food and beverages required because of the nature of your work, and how this amount exceeds what the average person would consume in terms of both cost and quantity
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