Tax Deduction Tips for Canadian Truck Drivers

Whether you are employed by a trucking company or an owner-operator, we have some tax deduction tips for Canadian truck drivers to make filing taxes easier this year.

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again- Tax time! Ah yes, when everyone dreads what the taxman is going to tell them when it’s time to file. Well, we’ve put together a few quick tips on tax deductions for Canadian truck drivers.

You work hard for your money, so if you can find a few deductions to keep more of it your pocket- all the better we say!

Tax Deductions for Canadian Drivers

  • Meal Expenses: Did you know that as a driver you can claim up to 50% of your meal expenses? And if you are a long-haul driver (meaning you are away from your main area for at least 24 hours and a delivery distance of 160km from your employer’s business address) you can claim even higher- up to 80% of your meal expenses while you are on the road? Even if you buy the groceries and cook them up yourself, you can claim up to $34/day. If you choose not to claim more than the $34/day you don’t need to worry about keeping your receipts. This is considered the batching method.
  • Lodging and Showers: Lodging is also deductible up to 80%. Same with any showering expenses you may incur if using showers but sleeping in your cab.
  • Supplies and Tools: If you buy supplies and tools for your work that are not reimbursed by your employer, some of these too can be deducted.
  • Cell Phone: If your phone is used for business-related purposes (just make sure you can prove this), a portion of your phone bill can be deducted.

Tips for claiming your deductions

  • Be sure to keep all your receipts to prove expenses. This is very important! You’ll want these in case you ever get audited by the CRA.
  • These rules apply even if you are in the United States. You can deduct the same percentages on meals, lodging and showering. Bonus tip: calculate it in US dollars then convert to the average Canadian exchange rate from the Bank of Canada. This allows you to take advantage of the stronger U.S. dollar.
  • Find out if you are applicable for a GST/HST rebate if you are purchasing supplies and food. There are a couple of conditions that need to be met in order to qualify. For one your employer needs to be registered as a GST/HST registrant and two, when you paid for your employment-related supplied you deducted this amount from your expenses.

Just a quick note that you will have to adjust what you deduct for taxes if any portion is reimbursed to you by your employer.

Self-Employed as an Owner-Operator? Here are some tax tips for you.

If you are an owner operator you are eligible for the tax deductions that come from being self-employed or sole-proprietor.  As the owner of your business, you will have various operating costs that will be eligible for deductions.

Some examples:

  • Insurance
  • Maintenance and repairs: there a couple of conditions for this one. 1) the repairs done by yourself don’t count, 2) the repairs were paid by insurance, and 3) the repairs are cannot be considered a capital expense
  • Management and administration fees
  • Any advertising you do for your business
  • Rent- if you work out a rented workspace; and/or
  • Utilities of either the rental space or a portion of the utilities if you run your business from a home office.
  • Legal, Accounting, and other professional fees
  • Membership dues
  • Business licences
  • Bank fees and interest
  • Meals: As an owner-operator, if you do long hauls (as previously defined) you are still eligible to claim up to 80% of your meal expenses. Trips across the border work the same as well when it comes time to figure out how much you can deduct.

For a complete listing of deductible expenses available to owner-operators visit the CRA’s website.

Still confused about tax deductions for Canadian Truck Drivers?

Don’t worry you are certainly not the only one out there who cringes when tax time rolls around each year. The best advice we can give is to hire a great accountant. One who knows their stuff can be worth their weight in gold in what they can help you save each year at tax time.

Hopefully, these tips will have you saving all the important receipts you’ll need throughout the year in order to receive all the potential deductions you deserve to keep your hard earned cash.


Canada Revenue Agency- Meals and Showers

CRA-Long Haul Drivers

CRA- U.S. Trips

CRA-Salaried Employees

CRA- Self-Employed