Suppose that for some reason (family connections, unaffordability, ...) someone lives in a town a train ride away from one of Canada's expensive cities (Toronto, Vanvouver).

He makes most or all of his income in the city he commutes to. He maintains a primary residence in his hometown.

Does the CRA give him a reprieve for the expenses he incurs to either:

  1. commute daily by train.
  2. maintain a second, sleeping residence in his work town.

I assume that if he has some kind of corporate structure, then the commute and possibly the second residence could become legitimate business expenses. Here I am asking about an ordinary worker. The note on this page suggests that there isn't one, but I'm hoping someone here has the expertise to confirm one way or the other.

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    If you see something on an official Government of Canada web page indicating a tax position, to overturn that position you will need the confidence that only a paid professional can provide. No one online should be sticking their neck out to provide a controversial opinion that goes against what the CRA has in their guidelines, and if they do, I would suggest you not trust them. This doesn't mean the guidelines found on CRA pages are 'always right', it just means that they are usually right, and proving them wrong might require time in court, after the CRA audits you. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Aug 23 '17 at 18:26
  • You can claim moving expenses if you move 40km closer for a new job. – brian Aug 23 '17 at 22:13

The answer on the Canadian Government's website is pretty clear:

Most employees cannot claim employment expenses. You cannot deduct the cost of travel to and from work, or other expenses, such as most tools and clothing.

However, that is most likely related to a personal vehicle. There is a deduction related to Public Transportation:

You can claim cost of monthly public transit passes or passes of longer duration such as an annual pass for travel within Canada on public transit for 2016.

The second sleeping residence is hard to justify as the individual is choosing to work in this town and this individual is choosing to spent the night there - it is not currently a work requirement.

As always, please consult a certified tax professional in your country for any final determinations on personal (and corporate) tax laws and filings.

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  • Yes, I had already read this, and other, pages myself, as I had indicated. Are you suggesting this reading is authoritative? – Sebastian Aug 23 '17 at 18:11
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    @Sebastian I am not suggesting anything as you should always consult with a tax professional for any tax advice. I am simply quoting the Canadian Government's webpage, which I would assume it accurate. – Michael Aug 23 '17 at 18:12
  • @Sebastian When it comes to tax matters in Canada, authority basically goes like this: Legislation itself, if it clearly covers your circumstance, is the primary authority, then court case rulings on grey areas. What the CRA provides (in addition to their summary of legislation and judicial precedence) is basically a non-binding indication of how they would treat something. They are not the law - people can and do fight the CRA if they feel the CRA misinterprets tax law. BUT, for the average person, it can comfortably be assumed that the CRA is either right or that it would be a pain to fight. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Aug 23 '17 at 18:23
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    note the transit credit is not available after June 2017. canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/programs/… – brian Aug 23 '17 at 22:12

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