2015-0598481I7 Eligibility of Expenses

Please note that the following document, although believed to be correct at the time of issue, may not represent the current position of the CRA. Prenez note que ce document, bien qu'exact au moment émis, peut ne pas représenter la position actuelle de l'ARC.

Principal Issues: 1. Whether expenses for off-duty firearm practice are deductible from employment income.

Position: 1. In this case, no

Reasons: See response

Author: Ryer, Andrea

Section: 8(1), 8(1)(i)(i), 8(2)

XXXXXXXXXX
                                                            2015-059848
                                                            A. Ryer

November 9, 2015

Dear XXXXXXXXXX:

Re: Off-duty firearm practice expenses

We are writing in response to your letter, which was sent to the XXXXXXXXXX Tax Services Office on June 29, 2015, concerning the deductibility of expenses related to off-duty firearm practice for employees of the XXXXXXXXXX (employer) and the reporting of such expenses using Form T2200, Declaration of Conditions of Employment, or Form T777, Statement of Employment Expenses.

In the situation described, an employee participates in off-duty firearm practice. He or she incurs expenses to practice at private firing ranges, such as range fees, membership costs and incidental expenses (e.g., transportation costs). The employer does not pay or reimburse these expenses. Although off-duty firearm practice is voluntary, the maintenance of firearm certification is a condition of employment for certain employees.

Our Comments

This technical interpretation provides general comments about the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Act) and related legislation (where referenced). It does not confirm the income tax treatment of a particular situation involving a specific taxpayer but is intended to assist you in making that determination. The income tax treatment of a particular transactions proposed by a specific taxpayer will only be confirmed by this Directorate in the context of an advance income tax ruling request submitted in the manner set out in Information Circular IC 70-6R6, Advance Income Tax Rulings and Technical Interpretations.

Employment expenses

Subsection 8(2) of the Act provides that no deductions are allowed in computing an individual’s income from employment except as specifically authorized under section 8. Generally, these deductions are restricted to certain expenses incurred while performing employment duties. While we understand that maintenance of firearm certification is a condition of employment for certain employees, section 8 of the Act does not provide a deduction for range fees or incidental expenses related to off-duty firearm practice in the circumstances you describe.

Under paragraph 8(1)(i) of the Act, certain membership costs may be deductible if they qualify as annual professional membership dues, provided the following conditions are met:

a)    they are annual dues (in contrast with entrance fees) necessary to maintain professional status (e.g., a physician is required to maintain professional status with the provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons),
b)    the amount claimed is paid in the taxation year and the employee is not reimbursed or entitled to be reimbursed, and
c)    the professional status is recognized by a Canadian, provincial, or foreign statute.

Membership costs for voluntary, off-duty firearm practice at firing ranges or clubs would not be deductible from income from an office or employment since those costs are not necessary to maintain a professional status recognized by statute. For more information about professional membership dues, see Interpretation Bulletin IT-158R2, Employees’ Professional Membership Dues. For information on employment expenses that may be deducted from income from an office or employment, see Guide T4044, Employment Expenses 2014.

Your letter referenced paragraph 4(a) of Interpretation Bulletin IT-357R2, Expenses of Training. That paragraph relates to certain training expenses that may be deducted from business income. It does not apply to expenses that may be deducted from income from an office or employment.  As stated in paragraph 8 of IT-357R2, the Act generally does not provide for an employee to deduct training expenses.

Form T2200 and T777

In signing Form T2200, an employer certifies that the required conditions set out in the provisions of the Act are met. An employer must be reasonably certain that an employee meets the conditions before signing Form T2200. Since expenses for off-duty firearm practice are not deductible, there is no need, in respect of those expenses, for the employer to complete Form T2200 or for the employee to complete Form T777. It should be noted that although the signing of Form T2200 is required before an employee can claim a deduction for employment expenses, a signed Form T2200 does not guarantee an employee that any employment expenses incurred are deductible, as the other requirements of the Act must also be satisfied.

For your information, unless exempted, a copy of this letter will be severed using the Access to Information Act criteria and placed in the Canada Revenue Agency’s electronic library. A severed copy will also be distributed to the commercial tax publishers, following a 90-day waiting period (unless advised otherwise to extend this waiting period), for inclusion in their databases. The severing process will remove all material that is not subject to disclosure, including information that could disclose your identity.

We trust these comments will be of assistance to you.

Yours truly,

 

Nerill Thomas-Wilkinson, CPA, CA
Manager
Business and Employment Income Section
Business and Employment Division
Income Tax Rulings Directorate

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