Can You Deduct Fines and Parking Tickets on Your Taxes?

January 10, 2024

As a business owner, you may incur fines and penalties from time to time for breaking certain laws or regulations. You might also receive parking tickets while conducting business. But can you deduct these expenses on your taxes? The answer is not always straightforward.

In general, fines and penalties for breaking the law are not tax-deductible. This means that if you receive a fine for violating a traffic law or for breaking any other law, you cannot deduct the cost of the fine on your tax return. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) specifically disallows the deduction of any fine or penalty imposed by a government, court, or regulatory body.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you receive a parking ticket while conducting business, you may be able to deduct the cost of the ticket. This is because the cost of the ticket is considered a legitimate business expense. To qualify for this deduction, you will need to keep detailed records of the parking expenses and demonstrate that they were incurred while conducting business. You should also keep a logbook of your business trips, noting the date, destination, and purpose of the trip.

Another situation where fines may be deductible is when they are considered part of the cost of doing business. For example, if a business is fined for violating a health and safety regulation, the cost of the fine may be deductible as a business expense. However, the CRA will scrutinize such deductions closely to ensure that the business owner can demonstrate that the fine was necessary to continue operating the business.

It's important to note that even if a fine or penalty is deductible, it is still a cost that should be minimized as much as possible. Ideally, you should strive to avoid incurring fines or penalties in the first place by staying compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. If you do receive a fine or penalty, you should take steps to understand why it was imposed and how you can prevent similar fines in the future.

In conclusion, while fines and penalties are generally not tax-deductible, there are some exceptions. If you receive a parking ticket while conducting business, you may be able to deduct the cost of the ticket. Similarly, fines that are incurred as part of the cost of doing business may also be deductible, but these deductions will be subject to scrutiny by the CRA. In any case, it's important to keep accurate records and stay compliant with all relevant laws and regulations to minimize your risk of incurring fines and penalties.

For the nerds out there looking for legislative references; a fine or penalty that is a business expense for purposes of computing profit under subsection 9(1) of the Income Tax Act, will be deductible for income tax purposes, unless such deduction is limited or precluded by another provision of the Act (such as section 18 or 67.6).

CRA's Income Tax Folio S4-F2-C1 outline's the relevant Relevant income tax provisions and court cases considered in the blog post.

The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not take into account your personal situation and is not intended to be used without a specific consultation. Lucas CPA Professional Corporation will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.

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