I allow myself this small observation: 2020 does not promise to be the most favorable year to improvise an accountant.
Even in normal times, the fees of a tax professional have never seemed to me a luxury. I’m telling you this because last week I noticed a high interest in the topic of deductible expenses for telecommuting employees, which is discussed here.
Readers have seen in this column an invitation to entrust me with their tax return. Please hold on.
Others have asked me for clarification, such as this woman at the head of a company who asks this very pertinent question: can her employees deduct their home office expenses if they have received some form of compensation from the from the employer?
Yes, confirms accountant and tax specialist Sophie Trépanier, from the firm RCGT. They can claim deductions from the tax authorities using the simplified fixed rate formula ($ 2 per day of teleworking, maximum deduction of $ 400, without providing supporting documents).
They can also turn to the detailed method, which consists of recording all eligible labor expenses, collecting and keeping supporting documents. However, the sums reimbursed by the employer must be subtracted from the deductions requested. After that, there might not be much left to deduce …
The company vehicle, more taxed?
Last week I didn’t even come close to the subject of taxable benefits, which does not make it any less important. On the contrary, the sums at stake are much larger. It is the reader Denis, who works for the most part on the road, who pointed out the issue to us.
His car is provided to him by his employer, which represents a taxable advantage in the eyes of the tax authorities. However, the value of the benefit is considerably reduced (and tax payable) when it can be shown that the car is used for work most of the time. This is the case with Denis.
Our reader is worried. The pandemic forced him to stay at home and meet his clients through Zoom. Obviously, he can no longer claim that he has worn out his car in a professional context. He wonders if he will not be picked up by the tax authorities because of this advantage.
Well, he can breathe. In its great magnanimity (ahem, ahem), the tax authorities allow workers in Denis’s situation to use the 2019 mileage breakdown (personal use vs. professional use) to determine the value of the taxable benefit of a supplied car. in 2020.
Unused parking provided
Related concern: Other workers might wonder what will happen to employer-paid parking. This issue mainly affects office workers who are offered a warm parking space in the basement of their workplace building.
Parking fees are considered a personal expense by the tax authorities, which is why they are treated as a taxable benefit when the boss foots the bill.
How will the Revenue Agency deal with this when the majority of office workers have been encouraged to work from home?
Sleep easy, he will close his eyes if the parking lot has not been used due to the pandemic.
Government of Quebec
Government of Canada