Truckers sue Canadian tax agency over per diem

| 3/14/2005

A group of truckers and other traveling workers in Canada is suing that nation’s federal government, claiming that its tax policies on meal allowances discriminate against them.

In the case, filed against tax agency Revenue Canada in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the truckers point out that under Canadian law, they are allowed to deduct roughly $22.50 each day for meal allowances, while federal government workers under the same circumstances are allowed to deduct $73.10 a day.

In addition, the private sector workers must produce receipts to prove their deductions, according to the text of the suit; federal workers do not have to show receipts to receive their much larger deductions.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 11 truckers, but would apply to all traveling workers who are part of the nation’s private sector. Johnston, Johnson & Company of Summerland, British Columbia – the law firm representing the plaintiffs – said in a news release that as many as 300,000 Canadians could be affected.

The law firm estimates that the additional taxation amounts to as much as 2.7 billion Canadian dollars each year.