OTTAWA -- Who says carriers, owner-ops, and unions can't all work together to get something done in trucking?
Thanks to ongoing lobbying efforts by the Canadian Trucking Alliance,
the Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada (OBAC) and the
Teamsters, the Conservative government has reportedly announced in the
federal budget it will restore the meal deduction claims limit to 80
percent for truck drivers.
According to a report at 4:00 pm on Toronto news radio station CFRB,
the budget being read today by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty includes
the much sought-after tax amendment. There are no further details on
possible implementation dates at this point.
The restoration of meal claims to 80 percent is welcome
news to drivers who spend a lot of time away from home
OBAC, and the Teamsters, with support from this magazine, recently
launched the Lunch-bag Let-down Campaign, which inspired the mailing of
nearly 5,000 postcards to Flaherty urging him to increase the allowable
proportion of meal costs drivers can expense on their personal or small
business tax forms.
As Today's Trucking has been reporting for years, Canadian truckers
were once allowed to deduct 80 percent of their meal costs. However,
the former Federal Liberal government rolled the deduction limit back
to 50 percent -- a mark that hasn't budged in over a decade, despite
the fact that U.S. drivers have seen deductions gradually rise over the
last few years. The U.S. rate will at 80 percent for 2008.
While the news is welcome to drivers who spend a significant amount of
time away from home -- eating at irregular times in truck stops and
diners -- the meal tax battle is still not over for some.
Although they can now claim 80 percent of it, many truckers still say
the actual daily total a trucker can claim continues to be far too low
at $45 a day. Canada Revenue increased the limit from $33 a day to $45
in 2003 after a handful of individual truckers challenged the limit in
The Supreme Court of Canada is deciding if it will hear a case brought
by 2,500 truckers and B.C. lawyer Tom Johnston, who claim the
government should close the gap between the $45 a day limit it gives
drivers and the $73 meal allowance it gives its own public employees.
By Today's Trucking