OTTAWA, Ont. – Canadian truckers were big winners with the new federal budget, announced Mar. 19, which restores the meal tax deductibility for long-haul truck drivers to 80%. The Canadian Trucking Alliance, Owner-Operators’ Business Association of Canada (OBAC) and Teamsters have been appealing to the feds to restore the limit from 50% to 80% through the Lunchbag Letdown Campaign. The campaign was well-publicized in the trade press, including Truck News and trucknews.com. The March issue of Truck News reported federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty had received more than 4,000 postcards.
The Liberal government rolled back the deductibility limit to 50% in 1994 to curtail lavish spending by big business. A similar move was made in the US at the time, but the limit is being restored south of the border. In Canada, the 80% deduction limit will be restored in stages, increasing to 60% as of March 19, 65% in 2008, 70% in 2009, 75% in 2010 and 80% thereafter. When fully restored, it could save individual truckers more than $1,300 per year. To be eligible, drivers must be away for at least 24 consecutive hours, and the purpose of the trip is to transport goods beyond a 160 km radius from the home location; in addition, the vehicle must have a GVWR of greater than 11,788 kg.
CTA has been strongly urging the feds to restore the meal deduction limit to 80% and it welcomed the announcement. “This is a clear, decisive victory for the hardworking Canadian men and women of the trucking industry,” says David Bradley, CEO of the CTA.
The feds also announced they’ll spend $16 billion in infrastructure. Included in that amount is a $6 billion contribution to a new Building Canada Fund. A fund was also announced for gateways and border crossings.
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