Line 255 - How much can you claim as a deduction for travel benefits?

The maximum deduction you can claim for each eligible trip is the lowest of the following three amounts:

You can claim a deduction for travel benefits even if you are not claiming a residency deduction. For example, if your spouse or common-law partner claims both the basic and the additional residency amounts, you can still claim a deduction for any taxable travel benefits you received.

You cannot claim a deduction for travel benefits if:

  • you or any member of your household received or was entitled to receive non-taxable amounts as travel assistance, a travel allowance, or as a reimbursement for travel expenses; or
  • someone else has already claimed the deduction for travel benefits for this trip on their return.

Taxable travel benefits

You can claim a deduction for other travel (vacation or family reasons) if you have an amount in box 32 of your T4 slip or box 028 of your T4A slip showing any taxable travel benefits you received in the year. You can claim a maximum of two trips per year for other travel for each member of your household.

You can claim a deduction for medical travel if you have an amount in box 33 of your T4 slip or box 116 of your T4A slip showing any taxable travel benefits you received in the year. The medical services had to be for you or a member of your household and must not have been available where you lived. There is no limit on the number of trips for medical travel you can claim for each member of your household.

You can only claim a deduction for travel benefits for a trip that you or your household members (who lived with you at the time of the trip) actually took for vacation, family or medical reasons and that started from a prescribed zone.

If you received a benefit that was not for any particular trip, you have to split it reasonably between the trips you are claiming.

The taxable travel benefits you received for other travel (vacation or family reasons) is your total taxable travel benefits from box 32 of your T4 slip or box 028 of your T4A slip, minus any amount received for medical travel from box 33 of your T4 slip or box 116 of your T4A slip.

If you are claiming a deduction for medical travel on Form T2222, no one can claim it as a medical expense on his or her return.

Travel expenses

Travel expenses include: air/train/bus fares, vehicle expenses, meals, hotel or motel accommodations, camping fees, and other incidental expenses such as taxis and road/ferry tolls.

To calculate meal and vehicle expenses, you may choose the detailed or simplified method. Your total travel expenses equal the total of the value of travel assistance provided by your employer and the travel expenses incurred by you. Include any travel expenses paid by your employer. For more information about the detailed or simplified methods including the different rates, go to Meal and vehicle rates used to calculate travel expenses for 2016 and previous years, or call 1-800-267-6999.

Notes

In cases of medical travel, if the patient needs an attendant while travelling, the attendant's travel expenses are included as part of the patient's total travel expenses, even if they are in the form of travel assistance your employer provided or actual expenses you incurred.

If you or a member of your household was the attendant:
In column 5 of Form T2222, include the cost of the attendant's lowest return airfare as part of the patient's expense for airfare. In column 4, include the cost of the attendant's travel expenses (excluding airfare) as part of the patient's travel expenses.

If you or a member of your household was not the attendant:
In column 5 of Form T2222, do not include the cost of the attendant's lowest return airfare as part of the patient's expense for airfare. In column 4, include the cost of the attendant's travel expenses (including airfare) as part of the patient's travel expenses.

Lowest return airfare

The lowest return airfare available at the time of the trip means the lowest return airfare ordinarily available for regularly scheduled commercial flights, excluding promotions or discounts that are not ordinarily available, on the date that the travel began. It also includes any GST/PST/HST and airport taxes. Additional charges, such as flight cancellation insurance, meals, and baggage surcharges are not considered part of the lowest return airfare.

The lowest return airfare to be used to complete column 5 of Form T2222 is the cost quoted for a flight from the airport closest to your residence to the nearest designated city (even if you did not actually travel by air or to that city).

The nearest designated cities are:

Vancouver, BC
Calgary, AB
Edmonton, AB
Saskatoon, SK
Winnipeg, MB
North Bay, ON
Toronto, ON
Ottawa, ON
Montréal, QC
Québec, QC
Moncton, NB
Halifax, NS
St. John's, NL 

Example

Katie and her husband John moved from Vancouver, British Columbia, to their new house in Old Fort, Alberta, on March 15, 2016. Old Fort, Alberta, is listed as a prescribed northern zone (Zone A). 

Katie started working for Smith Co. in Old Fort, Alberta, and received in 2016 a travel allowance of $5,000 from this employer. The $5,000 travel allowance is included in box 32 of Katie’s 2016 T4 slip received from Smith Co.

On November 1, 2016, Katie flew back to Vancouver, British Columbia, to visit her mother and spent $1,500 on travel expenses. Katie took one trip in 2016. The lowest return airfare available at the time of the trip was $300. 

The first step is to determine whether Katie’s travel expenses qualify for the deduction for travel benefits. It appears that all three conditions are met:

  1. Katie lives in the prescribed northern zone for a continuous period of at least six consecutive months;
  2. Katie and her employer, Smith Co. are not related; and
  3. The $5,000 travel allowance received from Smith Co. is included in Katie’s income as a taxable travel benefit.

The second step is to calculate the amount that Katie can claim as a deduction for travel benefits. She completes Step 3 of Form T2222, Northern Residents Deductions. She enters her name as the person who took the trip in “Column 1” and the purpose of her trip (family reasons) in “Column 2”. The maximum deduction for travel benefits Katie can claim is the lowest of the following three amounts:

  1. The amount of taxable travel benefits Katie received from Smith Co.: $5,000 (Column 3);
  2. The actual amount of Katie’s travel expenses: $1,500 (Column 4);
  3. The lowest return airfare available at the time of Katie’s trip between the airport closest to Old Fort and the nearest designated city which is Edmonton: $300 (Column 5).

As Old Fort, Alberta is listed as a prescribed northern zone, Katie enters $300 in the "Other travel" area of the “Zone A” Column in Step 3.

 

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