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Tax tips for Canadian truckers

As a trucker you not only have to be alert to fulfill your job duties but you also have to be somewhat of a business person in order to be able to comply with what the CRA is going to expect of you.   The type of a truck driver you are is going to determine how you file your taxes in regards to your expense and potential credits.   It will be different for the short haul truck driver compared to the long-haul truck driver and it differs for the owner operator when it comes to trucking.

If you are a owner operator than most likely the best step for you to take is to incorporate your business.   This is going to deal heavily with the way that you are able to treat your expenses.   Many truck drivers that own their own truck often use family members to assist them with some of their other duties such as there are bookkeeping and they will want to be able to claim this as an expense.   The other value that it may have now with the current tax system is in regards to income splitting.

What is critically important is the way that you maintain your logbook.   Even if you keep your logbooks in pristine shape it is important that you hang on to them as many owner operators will dispose of their logbooks after three months.   But what has to be remembered is if you’re using your logbook as your source of validation for your meal allowances then this is a financial record, and according to CRA a rules you must keep your records for seven years.   If you get an audit and they are looking at your meal claims it is critically important that you have previous records to be able to back up your pattern.

The other thing that you have to keep track of is to make sure that your GST claims match the other figures of your financial statements.  If you have employees as an owner operator then you have payroll responsibilities and you really must make sure that your records are accurate. It has been indicated  that the CRA and the WCB are working jointly to make sure that everything matches.

While there are a lot of things to keep track of as an independent trucker or as an owner operator one of the most important things that you need to do is hire a proper accountant.   It may be really easy due to time constraints to run into one of the many tax kiosks that arise during a tax season, but this is something that you really do not want to do in most cases.  When you are looking at the type of reporting and bookkeeping that you need to do you really need to have an accountant on board that is familiar with the trucking industry to ensure that you are complying with all of the CRA laws, as well as getting all of the benefits from your expenses.

 

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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
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Email: sam@torontoaccountant.ca

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