Site logo

Travel Expenses

November 2, 2012

Tax Question:

What expenses can I deduct in my business for travel?


In order for travel expenses to be tax-deductible, they need to be incurred primarily for business. CRA does not want you to take a personal vacation and then deduct the relating expenses because you discussed business for one hour.


There are several factors to consider when determining which conference expenses can be deducted.

  1. The conference taken must relate to the company’s business. If the conference is taken primarily for personal knowledge or enjoyment, then any costs associated with it would not be deductible.
  2. Travel costs incurred to go to and from the location of the conference are only deductible if the primary purpose of the trip is to attend the conference. For example, you are going to New York for one week of personal vacation but then find out that there is a one-day work-related event during the week you are there. Since your primary purpose of going to New York is personal, the travel costs are not deductible. You would still be able to deduct the cost of the work-related events though such as the conference fees.
  3. If any part of the trip is personal, expenses that occur at the destination will need to be allocated between work-related and personal. This includes accommodation, food and other minor costs. For example, a doctor lives in Vancouver, BC, and is going to Hawaii for a medical conference for his business. The conference is five full days long and he plans on staying two extra days after the conference for vacation. He would not be in Hawaii if there was not a conference. Therefore, he can deduct in his business the full amount of the flight costs to and from Vancouver and Hawaii as well as the transportation costs to and from the airport and hotel as the conference is the primary reason for the trip. The accommodation, food and other costs relating to the conference would be deductible for the five days he attends the conference. For the two days after the conference, these costs would be considered personal and therefore, not deductible.

If you would like more information on this topic, please contact a member of the Empire CPA team by filling out the contact form below.

Canadian and foreign tax laws are complex and have a tendency to change on a frequent basis. As such, the content published above is believed to be accurate as of the date of this post. Before implementing any tax planning, please seek professional advice from a qualified tax professional. Empire, Chartered Professional Accountants will not accept any liability for any tax ramifications that may result from acting based on the information contained above.

Share this post

Related posts