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July 20, 2022 - 2 min read

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.

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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 in your mileage log for each trip you take with your personal vehicle:

  • The date
  • Destination
  • Purpose
  • 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)
  • Insurance
  • 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.

FAQ

No. There's nothing in the law requiring you to log odometer readings for each trip. When calculating your car expenses using the logbook method, you must record your odometer at the beginning and end of the year. Keep in mind, though, that your company may ask you to record odometer readings more frequently.
Yes! If you drive the vehicle(s) for personal use as well, you need to be able to show the portion of use that is for business. This is calculated as a proportion of total kilometres driven for both professional and personal reasons. This entails keeping track of all trips and then determining the percentage of kilometres driven for business purposes.
Whether you are an individual taxpayer or self-employed, the CRA requires you to keep your records for six years from when you lodge your tax return, in case they need you to substantiate your claims.
In the workplace, logbooks are used to keep track of events, actions, and measurements, among other things. They can also be used for external auditing, thus they must be tailored to each industry and set of laws. In this post, when we talk about a logbook we are referring to mileage logbooks which are used to keep track of mileage driven for reimbursement purposes.

How to automate your mileage logbook

Manually filling out your logbook can get tedious - see how to automatically track trips for your mileage reimbursement or deductions.

This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only, and should not be taken as professional advice from Driversnote. You should consider seeking independent legal, taxation, or financial advice from a professional to check how this information relates to your own circumstances. Relevant laws also change from time to time.