CRA logbook requirements
Depending on your circumstances, there may be criteria for keeping a record of your work-related driving in the form of a logbook.
Your employer may specify the records they require, and if you're claiming a tax deduction for work-related car use, the CRA has requirements that must be followed.
We'll look at how mileage log requirements differ depending on which reporting method you select.
Mileage log requirements for claiming mileage from an employer
Mileage reimbursement from employers is usually based on the automobile allowance rate set by the CRA. The rate is a per-kilometre compensation for owning and operating your vehicle for business-related driving.
While there are no official requirements for a mileage log you provide to your employer, most require some sort of evidence before paying out reimbursements. This evidence is generally presented in the form of a mileage log. You will need to log some details of your work-related driving such as the date of each trip, your destination, what the purpose of the trip is and the number of kilometres driven. Keep in mind your employer might ask you to record more details in your mileage logs, such as odometer readings, time of the day and others.
Logbook requirements for claiming mileage from the CRA
You will need a mileage log of all driven trips, as well as receipts and invoices for all car expenses you’ve incurred through the year. There are two methods by which you can claim mileage from the CRA - the full logbook method and the simplified logbook method. The CRA has specific requirements of what your mileage log should contain if you are claiming mileage deductions.
CRA mileage log requirements for the logbook methods
You will need to record the following details for each trip you take with your personal vehicle:
- The date
- Kilometres driven
You are required to also include your vehicle’s odometer readings at the start and end of the year in your CRA mileage log.
Note that if you use your vehicle for both business and personal journeys, you will need to record both, and not just your business-related mileage.
To accompany your logbook, you will also have to provide receipts of all car expenses throughout the year. These can include:
- Licence & registration costs
- Fuel & oil
- Electricity (for zero-emission vehicles)
- Maintenance & repairs
- Leasing costs
- Interest on money borrowed to buy the motor vehicle
Finally - if you use more than one vehicle for business purposes, remember to record the kilometres for both vehicles separately, as well as record your expenses for each vehicle. Basically, you must calculate your deduction for each vehicle separately in order to get proper mileage reimbursement.
Full logbook vs. the simplified logbook method
The requirements for your CRA mileage log are the same for both methods. The two ways of claiming a deduction for your business-related driving only differ in how to keep your mileage logs.
The full logbook method requires you to keep a mileage log of your driving each year in order to claim a deduction for your car expenses.
The simplified logbook method lets you establish a base year of your driving and use it as a sample for other years. Once you have a full 12 months of driving (both business and personal) recorded in a logbook, you can use that to establish the base year for your business usage. When the base year is established, you can then use a three-month sample to forecast your business usage for an entire year.
CRA mileage log formats
Paper, diary, account book, digital spreadsheets, CSV files, PDF files, and XLSX (Microsoft Excel) are all accepted by the CRA. In other words, the format does not matter as long as the right records are present.
Your employer should tell you which records they require, as well as the forms they need for the process.
Paper logbooks are available from many newsagents and are suitable so long as you remember to fill them in at the start and end of each trip.
Should you prefer an automatic solution, an automated mileage logbook app can help you to record everything you need to claim your work-related car expenses from the CRA or your employer.
How to automate your mileage logbook
CRA Mileage Guide
- Calculate your reimbursement
- Is car allowance taxable?
- Current CRA mileage rates
- CRA mileage rate 2022
- Mileage logbook requirements
- Mileage rates for 2021 and previous years
- For self-employed
- For employers
- For employees