Meal Expenses for Long Distance Drivers

As with other employees, drivers must meet all the following criteria in order to claim travel expenses:

  • They must be normally required to work away from your employerís place of business or in different places.
  • Under their contract of employment, they must be required to pay their own travelling expenses.
  • They must not receive a non-taxable allowance for travelling expenses.
  • They must have a copy of Form T2200, Declaration of Conditions of Employment, completed and signed by their employer.

In addition, in order to claim food and beverage expenses they must be away for at least 12 consecutive hours from the municipality and the metropolitan area where they normally report for work (home terminal). Generally the claim for food and beverage expenses is limited to 50% of the actual amount spent.

Claiming Using the Simplified Method

Drivers who work for employers who are in the business of transporting goods or passengere may use form TL2 Claim for Meals and Lodging Expenses and my use the simplified method for calculating their food and beverage expenses. Employees whose main job function is the transport of goods or passengers may also claim using the simplified method even if their employer is not in the business of transporting goods or passengers, so long as they meet the criteria listed above.

Under the simplified method, employees are not required to claim their actual expenses but may, instead, claim a fixed amount per meal. For 2007, the fixed amount was $17 per meal. The employee is still required to keep a log book which details the travel and meals purchased. Alternatively, the employee may claim for the actual amount spent (detailed method) if they maintain the receipts for meals to back up their claim.

Under either the simplified or detailed method, there are limits on the maximum numbers of meals that may be claimed. CRA will allow a claim for one meal after every four hours starting at the time of departure. A maximum of three meals per 24-hour period (again starting at departure time) may be claimed. Where the employee is normally required to be away from his or her home terminal but is sometimes scheduled for a trip lasting 10 hours or less, the maximum claim allowed is for one meal. Employees regularly scheduled on trips lasting 10 hours or less do not meet the criteria listed above for claiming meals.

Alternatively, members of work crews, who purchase groceries and prepare their own meals (either individually or as a crew) may claim using the batching method, which allows a maximum claim of $34 per day.

With the exception of long-haul drivers (see below), the calculated claim for meals (under any of the three methods) is multiplied by 50% to calculate the allowable deduction.

Special Rules for Long-haul Truck Drivers
A long-haul truck driver is an employee whose main duty of employment is the transportation of goods by way of driving a long-haul truck. A long-haul truck is a truck or tractor that is designed for, and primarily used for, hauling freight, and has a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 11,788 kg. For trips after March 18, 2007, long-haul drivers on eligible runs are allowed to deduct 60% of their meal expenses (rather than the 50% limit for other claims). An eligible run for this claim is a trip of at least 160 km from the home terminal and that requires the driver to be away from the home terminal for at least 24 hours. Thus, a long-haul truck driver that is scheduled on a shorter run is not allowed the additional 10% claim.

The 60% limitation will be raised by 5% each year until 2011 when it will be capped at 80%.