Ask an Expert
Does a stress relief tax deduction exist?
Expert: John R Mott
I am a realtor on commission (self employed). In my line of work, it can get to be demanding and stressful, occasionally I like to get away for a R and R mixed with business. Is there any tax relief for such a trip? If so, what is the limit or percentage of the trip that can be deducted? A fellow colleague of mine mentioned about a stress relief tax deduction for his trip? What is that?
John R Mott answered:
There is no such thing as a stress relief tax deduction, so take your colleague's suggestion with a grain of salt. Any tax deductions relating to your physical and mental health would normally be restricted to the category of medical expenses. The list of eligible medical expenses is defined in the tax statutes and is quite specific. For example, amounts paid to licensed medical practitioners and amounts paid for prescription drugs filled by a pharmacist are eligible medical expenses.
In determining whether a particular trip is tax deductible, it is necessary to review the general criteria for deductability. The main test is that the expense be laid out for the purpose of earning income from a business. In short, it's a purpose test. It's not sufficient to find a business pretext for the trip. For example, if the main purpose of the trip is R and R, then you cannot convert it to a business deduction by simply checking out the odd real estate listing.
Common sense is probably your best guide in sorting out these distinctions. Professional conventions are often a venue for combining business and pleasure. The Canada Revenue Agency publishes a technical bulletin (IT--131R2) which discusses the restrictions that apply.
About the author
John Mott is a chartered accountant and tax specialist with a private practice in mid-town Toronto. He provides tax, accounting and advisory services to individuals and small businesses. He may be visited online at: johnmott.com.