TaxTips.ca
Canadian Tax and
Financial Information
Vehicle Trip Log / Business vs Personal Use

Ads keep this website free for you.
TaxTips.ca does not research or endorse any product or service appearing in ads on this site.  Before making a major financial decision you  should consult a qualified professional.

Looking for US tax information?
See
USTaxTips.net

Need an accounting, tax or financial advisor? Look in our Directory.      Stay Connected with TaxTips.ca!      Internet Explorer - Use compatibility view for calculators to work properly!

Home
What's New
Calculators
Personal Tax
Business
Sales Taxes
Free in 30!
Financial Planning
RRSP RRIF TFSA
Real Estate
Stocks Bonds etc.
Seniors
Disabilities
Canada
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
Ontario
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Atlantic Provinces
Territories
Federal Budget
Provincial Budgets
Statistics etc.
Glossary
Site Map
Directory
Advertise With Us
Contact Us/About Us
Links & Resources



Business -> Automobiles, Passenger Vehicles and Motor Vehicles -> Vehicle trip log - Business use vs personal use of vehicles

Keep a Trip Log to Identify the Business Use of Your Vehicle

A separate log should be kept for each vehicle which is driven for both business and personal use.  For the self-employed, only the business portion of vehicle expenses can be deducted from income, and GST/HST input tax credits are only allowed related to the business use of a vehicle.  For businesses which provide vehicles to employees, trip logs substantiate the business use of a vehicle, and the business must calculate the taxable benefit to employees based on the personal use.

The log should record the date of each business trip, destination, reason for the trip, and the kilometres driven.  The odometer reading of the vehicle must also be recorded, at the beginning and end of each year, to determine the total kilometres driven in the fiscal period.

If you buy, sell or trade your vehicle during the year, be sure to record the odometer reading at that time.

Logbook for a Sample Period

Starting in 2010, once a taxpayer has maintained a trip log covering a full 12-month period that is typical for the business (the "base year"), Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has indicated they would "afford considerable weight" to a trip log maintained for a "sample period" as evidence of the business use for a full year, if it meets the following criteria:

bullet A trip log must be maintained for a sample period of at least one continuous 3 month period in each subsequent year after the base year.
bullet The distances travelled and business use of the vehicle during the 3 month sample period is within 10% of the corresponding figures for the same 3 month period in the base year.
bullet The calculated annual business use of the vehicle in a subsequent year does not go up or down by more than 10% in comparison to the base year.

The base year business use will be used in subsequent years, along with the business use from the 3 month sample period, to determine the business use for the entire subsequent year.  See the CRA article Documenting the use of a vehicle for more detailed information, and for an example of the formula used to calculate business use in subsequent years.

Quebec Supporting Documents for Vehicle Mileage

In Quebec, as per Revenu Quebec's Keeping Business Records information, supporting documents that must be retained regarding automobile mileage include:

bulleta statement of kilometres travelled for each vehicle used in part for business and in part for personal purposes
bulletdocuments substantiating trips

Quebec's Logbook article also discusses the use of a simplified logbook for individuals in business.

Business Use vs Personal Use of a Vehicle

(i) Employees

If an employee travels between home and work, the travel is normally considered personal use of the vehicle, unless there was a business matter attended to between the home and the place of work.

If an employee travels between (i.e., to and/or from) home and a customer's place of work, the travel is normally considered business use.

For more information, see the CRA Interpretation Bulletin IT522 - Vehicle, Travel and Sales Expenses of Employees.

In Quebec, as per Revenu Quebec's Logbook information (currently not available in English, but French version available), an employee who makes use of an employer's automobile must keep a detailed logbook of the trips made with the automobile, and provide the employer a copy of the logbook no later than:

bulletJanuary 10 of the year that follows the year during which the automobile was available to the employee; or
bulletthe 10th day following the day on which the automobile is returned to the employer

(ii) Self-Employed

If a self-employed person has a home office and another office or place of business, usually the office outside the home is considered the base of business.  Travel between the home office and the base of business will normally be considered personal use of the vehicle.

Driving between (i.e., to and/or from) different premises of the same business would usually be considered business use.

Driving between the home office of a self-employed person and a customer's place of work is considered business use, as is any other travel incurred for business purposes.

Other resources

All topics related to vehicles and business

CRA Resources

bullet IT521 - Motor Vehicle Expenses Claimed by Self-Employed Individuals
bullet Motor vehicle expenses - sole proprietorships and partnerships

 

Tax Tip:  To avoid problems with your vehicle expense claims, keep a trip log!

 

Revised: November 02, 2016

 

 

Copyright © 2002 - 2017 Boat Harbour Investments Ltd. All Rights Reserved  See Reproduction of information from TaxTips.ca

Facebook  | Twitter  |  Google + |  Monthly Newsletter Sign-up  What’s New E-mail Notification RSS News Feed
The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.  Each person's situation differs, and a professional advisor can assist you in using the information on this web site to your best advantage. 
Please see our legal disclaimer regarding the use of information on our site, and our Privacy Policy regarding information that may be collected from visitors to our site.