Line 25500 - How much can you claim as a travel deduction?

Note: Line 25500 was line 255 before tax year 2019.

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

If an individual (you or an eligible family member) uses the standard amount to calculate a travel deduction in the year, $1,200 is the maximum total amount that may be claimed for each individual who travels, for all trips taken in the year by that individual, whether the trips were medical or non-medical, and regardless of which individual (either you or an eligible family member) is claiming the travel deduction. It is an amount per person, not per trip.

If any individual (you or an eligible family member) uses the taxable travel benefit received from employment to calculate a travel deduction in a year for an individual, then no one (including the individual) can use any part of that individual's $1,200 standard amount in calculating a travel deduction claim for any trip taken by that individual in that year.

You can claim a travel deduction 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 travel deduction.

You cannot claim a travel deduction if either of the following applies:

Number of trips

Under proposed changes, you can claim, for other (non-medical) reasons, up to two trips that you took and up to two trips taken by each eligible family member. You also can claim any number of medical trips taken by you or an eligible family member. The medical services had to be for you or an eligible family member 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 eligible family member. However, no more than two non-medical trips taken by any individual (themselves or an eligible family member) in a year can be claimed by all taxpayers combined.

Taxable travel benefits

Taxable travel benefits include:

Payments from your employer for travel that was not for employment purposes are generally considered taxable benefits. Box 32 of your T4 slip or box 028 of your T4A slip shows the taxable travel benefits you received in the year. This includes the benefits received specifically for medical travel, which are shown in box 33 of your T4 slip or box 116 of your T4A slip. You can use the benefit for medical travel in the calculation in Step 3, Chart B – column 3 only if the medical services were for you or an eligible family member and were not available where you lived.

Under proposed legislation, you can only claim a travel deduction for a trip that you or eligible family 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.

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

Travel expenses

Travel expenses include air, train, and bus fare, 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 2018 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 Chart B-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 Chart B-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 Chart B-Column 5 of Form T2222 is the cost quoted for a flight from the airport closest to your residence to the nearest designated city to that airport (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 A

Katie and John moved from Vancouver, British Columbia to their new house in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories on March 15, 2021. Yellowknife is listed as a prescribed northern zone (Zone A).

Katie started working at Smith Co. in Yellowknife and received a travel allowance from Smith Co. of $5,000 in 2021. The $5,000 travel allowance is included in box 32 of Katie’s 2021 T4 slip from Smith Co.

On November 1, 2021, Katie flew back to Vancouver, British Columbia to visit her mother and spent $1,500 on travel expenses. Katie took one trip in 2021. The lowest return airfare available at the time of the trip was $400.

The first step is to determine whether Katie’s travel expense qualifies for the travel deduction. It appears that all 3 conditions are met:

  1. Katie lives in a prescribed northern zone for a continuous period of at least 6 consecutive months.
  2. Katie and Smith Co. are not related.
  3. The $5,000 allowance received from Smith Co. is included in Katie’s income.

The second step is to calculate the amount Katie can claim as a travel deduction. Katie will complete Step 3 Chart-B of Form T2222, Northern Residents Deductions. She will include her name as the person who took the trip in “Column 1” and the purpose of her trip (family reasons) in “Column 2”.

The amount of the travel deduction is calculated as the lowest of the following 3 amounts:

  1. The value of the allowance received from Smith Co. : $5,000 (Column 3) since that amount is more than her $1,200 standard amount.
  2. The actual amount of Katie’s trip: $1,500 (Column 4).
  3. The lowest return airfare available at the time of Katie’s trip between the Yellowknife airport and the nearest designated city to that airport which is Edmonton: $400 (Column 5).

As Yellowknife, Northwest Territories is located in a prescribed northern zone, Katie will enter $400 under the “Zone A” Column in Step 3.

Example B

Kim and her husband Ryan live in Whitehorse, Yukon and have a 16-year-old child named Maria. Kim has higher income than her husband and generally claims all travel expenses for the household.

Kim received a taxable travel benefit of $1,500 from her employer for each of two non-medical trips she took by herself. She also received a taxable travel benefit of $1,000 for a non-medical trip that Ryan took by himself. However, neither Kim nor Ryan received a taxable travel benefit from employment for another non-medical trip Ryan took by himself, or a non-medical trip that Maria took alone.

Under the proposed changes, Kim can claim up to two trips that she took for non-medical reasons. She decides to use the $1,500 taxable travel benefit for the two non-medical trips she took in the year, since the amount of her taxable travel benefit is more than her $1,200 standard amount. Therefore, Kim is eligible to claim up to the amount of her travel benefit of $1,500 for each of her two trips.

For her Trip 1, Kim can claim the lesser of the following three amounts:

Therefore, she can claim $750 for this trip.

For her Trip 2, Kim can claim the lesser of the following three amounts:

Therefore, she can claim $800 for this trip.

Kim can also claim up to two non-medical trips taken by Ryan in the year. Kim decides not to use the $1,000 taxable travel benefit she received from her employer for one of the trips Ryan took by himself, since the amount she received is less than Ryan’s $1,200 standard amount for the year. Instead, Kim uses part of Ryan’s $1,200 standard amount for the first trip that Ryan took, and the rest on the second trip he took.

For Ryan’s Trip 1, Kim can claim whichever of the following three amounts is less:

Therefore, she can claim $400 for this trip and can allocate the remaining $800 balance ($1,200 - $400) of Ryan’s $1,200 standard amount to the other trip he took in the year.

For Ryan’s Trip 2, Kim can claim whichever of the following three amounts is less:

Therefore, she can claim $800 for this trip

Kim can also claim up to two non-medical trips taken by Maria, but there was only one such trip taken. Kim uses Maria’s full $1,200 standard amount for that trip.

For Maria’s trip, Kim can claim whichever of the following three amounts is less:

Therefore, Kim can claim $900 for this trip.

Here is how Kim completes Chart A on Form T2222:

Kim's Chart A

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