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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


I would actually take a pay cut – not to have work-related travel. After 33 years in the banking industry and travelling for the better part of a decade, it was starting to wear me down.

I found it incredibly lonely and it got tough living out of a suitcase, even though I became the most efficient packer going.  Now, to be fair, I saw wonderful parts of Canada that I might not otherwise have seen, I met incredible people and will remember the good times fondly.  Many will tell you, travelling tires very quickly when it becomes a business requirement. And it would appear that not everyone thinks like I do.

According to a recent survey by, 30 per cent of people surveyed said they would accept a lower paying job if it meant travelling more for work.

Are employers potentially under-valuing business travel as a staff remuneration “bargaining chip” as well as a workforce motivation and retention tool? I don’t think so. Business travel is an expensive cost for employer and through this economic downturn,  companies have cut back on business travel considerably. In today’s environment the laptop and latte generation can do business anywhere anytime.

If you do dream of travelling for your job, CRA has a few tips for you regarding travelling expenses which include food, beverage, and lodging expenses but not motor vehicle expenses. You can deduct travelling expenses as long as you meet all of the following conditions:

You were normally required to work away from your employer's place of business or in different places.

  • Under your contract of employment, you had to pay your own travelling expenses.
  • You did not receive a non-taxable allowance for travelling expenses. Generally, an allowance is non-taxable as long as it is a reasonable amount.
  • You keep with your records a copy of Form T2200, Declaration of Conditions of Employment, which has been completed and signed by your employer.
  • You can deduct food and beverage expenses if your employer requires you to be away for at least 12 consecutive hours from the municipality and the metropolitan area (if there is one) of your employer's location where you normally reported for work.

By the way, the most you can deduct for food and beverage expenses is 50 per cent of the lesser of:  The amount you actually paid; and an amount that is reasonable in the circumstances.

The 50-per-cent-limit also applies to the cost of food and beverages you paid for when you travelled on an airplane, train, or bus, as long as the ticket price did not include these amounts. There is a lot to consider here and you want to get it right. Having CRA come after you diminishes the shine of the business trip.

The data also supports for those that have travelled, 49 per cent have extended their business trip to a different city or country in the past 12 months with nearly one third suggesting they intend to do the same this year.