“NO SOUP FOR YOU” appears to be the message of the day from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regarding business luncheons involving employees earning commission.
This is a case of “don’t shoot the messenger”, I am only here to inform you, so please, holster your weapon.
Consider the following scenarios:
1) A corporation that takes out a client for lunch and has a salesperson attend and reimburses the cost will be able to deduct the expense of the meal, subject to a 50% cap on the expense and will not create a taxable benefit to the employee. (See: Guide T4130)
2) A self-employed individual or partnership has the same benefit as in the first point.
3) A self-employed commissioned agent, like insurance, or real estate, also has the same benefit.
4) A transport employee that doesn’t receive an allowance, also has the same benefit of the above (subject to additional calculations and restrictions)
5) A corporation provides a $17 meal allowance for an employee that is travelling away from the office, but still inside the metropolitan area, where the corporation is the primary beneficiary of the allowance, and the allowance is not an additional form of remuneration – receives the same treatment, and is non-taxable to the employee.
But heaven forbid if you are a sales employee on commission, working in town, claiming your own expenses. If so, you only get to claim the meals that your client consumed up to the 50% cap and there is ‘no soup for you.’
At the October 5, 2018 Association de planification fiscal et financière (APFF) [Tax and Financial Planning Association] Annual Congress in Gatineau, Quebec, the CRA pointed out that the 50% cap on meals expenses in Subsection 67.1(1) applies to the meal expense incurred, however Subsection 8(4) denies any deduction for the commissioned employee’s portion of those meals.
Thus, if the commissioned employee takes one individual client out for lunch, and they eat the same thing, the commissioned employee only gets 25% of the meal receipt as a deduction.
So from now on, Edmonton based commission employees will need to eat in Calgary and stay the night, and Calgary-based commission employees will need to eat in Edmonton and stay the night, because according to the the Department of Finance, and CRA’s interpretation, that makes good business, and tax, sense.
Cory G. Litzenberger, CPA, CMA, CFP, C.Mgr is the President & Founder of CGL Strategic Business & Tax Advisors; you can find out more about Cory’s biography at http://www.CGLtax.ca/Litzenberger-Cory.html
The CRA’s unofficial translated preliminary comment is below:
“Paragraph 8(1)(f) provides that a taxpayer who was employed in the year in connection with the selling of property or negotiating of contracts for the taxpayer’s employer, may deduct in computing the taxpayer’s income amounts expended by the taxpayer in the year for the purpose of earning income from the employment subject to certain conditions provided for in that paragraph.
Furthermore, subsection 8(4) provides, in particular, that amounts expended by an employee on a meal of the employee may not be deducted under paragraph 8(1)(f) unless the meal was consumed during a period while the taxpayer was required by the taxpayer’s duties to be away, for a period of not less than 12 hours, from the municipality where the employer’s establishment to which the taxpayer ordinarily reported for work was located and away from the metropolitan area, if there is one, where it was located.
There is nothing in the Income Tax Act that allows the CRA to not apply subsection 8(4) where an employee’s meal was not consumed during a period while the taxpayer was required by the taxpayer’s duties to be away, for a period of not less than 12 hours, from the municipality where the employer’s establishment to which the taxpayer ordinarily reported for work was located and away from the metropolitan area, if there is one, where it was located”