It’s that time of year – tax season!
Many accountants are not familiar with the process of claiming flight training tuition and the specific tax form it requires, so it is important that you fill it out properly in order to minimize the potential of future audits by the CRA.
To keep it simple, the form (officially called a TL11B) wants you to break down your money spent on each license and rating for the year. A separate form must be done for each calendar year, and each flight training unit if applicable. If you have had training for one license or rating split across different calendar years, then you will have to reflect this on separate forms.
It is extremely important to understand that CRA doesn't accept the overall total you have spent for the year – there are maximums that apply! These maximums are broken down below for you to refer to.
|Private License*||45 hrs, dual or solo|
|Commercial License||35 dual hrs||30 solo hrs|
|ALL RATINGS||Only Transport Canada minimum training requirements may be claimed|
*Note: you are not able to claim the PPL on its own, unless it is with an accompanying CPL cost – proving that you are continuing on to the Commercial License! If you only have Private License costs for a calendar year, they may not accept your claim. If this is the case, still complete the tax form for 2017 and keep it somewhere safe – you can submit along with the 2018 form next year once you have some commercial training costs!
Alternatively, if you are enrolled in our Professional Pilot Course, you can ask for us to issue a Confirmation of Enrollment to accompany your form – which they have been known to accept in the past. Just keep track of whether they accept or reject it, so you can plan accordingly for the next tax year.
You CAN include costs for:
You CANNOT include costs for:
|Ground School tuition*||Owner aircraft training|
|Written exam fees||Lodging and/or meals|
|Hours above the maximums allowed to be claimed|
*if ground school is done through an external source, you will have to ask them to issue a separate form.
Got it. Now - Math!
Now that you know what you are allowed to claim for each license, you can start doing some quick math. It is approximately one million times easier for you to count the hours from your PTR or log book, and then multiply those hours by our rates (below). Otherwise, you will be hunting through stacks of receipts that will claim part of your sanity by the time you are finished.
Suggestion: It is recommended that if you are partway through your Commercial License, to wait until you are finished before claiming them on your taxes. Why? Because only once you are finished, will you know what your most expensive hours are. (What if you ended up getting a checkout in the 172RG, and/or did some time building with it?) If you already capped out, or are close to doing so, you've 'wasted' the opportunity to claim a higher amount on those hours. Since you are allowed to back claim your tuition, you can submit everything once you are done; which will get you the most money on your tax credits in the long run. It also means you don't have to remember your carryover amounts that you are still eligible to claim when the next tax season comes.
|A/C||Regular||Night Rating||A/C||Regular||Night Rating|
To make it easier for you, these above totals include all taxes and fees (i.e., GST and the night premium rate) so you don't have to do any extra calculations.
Tip: For PPL – use your total dual hours first, then fill in the remaining with solo hours. You want to claim the most ‘expensive’ flight hours possible!
Tip: If you’ve done your CPL in a mix of planes, choose the most expensive ones first to count towards your maximums! (i.e., claim your 172RG hours first before using 172 or 152 hours). This will get you the best bang for your buck on what you are allowed to submit, and hopefully get you a better credit on your taxes!
Tip: DO NOT ‘double-dip’ hours that you are claiming. If you counted all of your PPL instrument hours as part of your 45 hours, you don’t get to re-claim them again for your Night Rating.
Once you have filled out your total costs for the year on the correct license/rating line, you just need to fill out the months you did your training in, and if you qualify for part or full time for any of those months. Make sure to read what they define as part/full time! This is explained in one of the bullet points at the top of the form. It is extremely common for students to only qualify for the odd month of part-time; sometimes none. This doesn’t mean you’re not getting any tuition credits, it just means you’re in a different ‘bracket’ in their formula and won’t get as much as someone who qualified for higher.
Finished? Need more help?
Once you have the form completed, or if you have any questions, bring it in to our office and speak with our office manager Cathryn Lawrence (make sure to have your PTR or log book with you!) who can sign off on the form or assist you in completing it. If you have absolutely zero idea of what you are doing, it is recommended to bring a form of caffeine as a peace offering.
We recommend that you keep a copy of your completed tax form, worksheet showing your rough work, and a yearly statement (which you can get from our office) together for you to have for any potential audits that may come your way. As flight training requires high expense over a short period of time, CRA tends to look closely at some of the claims that come across their desk – and you don’t want to be caught unprepared! Additionally, if you are submitting your forms when you only have part of your license completed in that year, you will need to know what you all claimed for so you don't accidentally over-claim your allowable hour total when you calculate next year... the government doesn't like that!
Bribes gracefully accepted.
Written by Cathryn Lawrence, Office Manager, Mitchinson Flight Centre