Should UOITFA Members Be Thinking About Taxes Already?

As a result of working from home, we have all incurred expenses. As reported in the OTU Weekly Report back in April, the University will reimburse some costs such as additional Internet and long-distance charges, and possibly more. If you have any questions about this, please contact the FA at office@uoitfa.ca for further information.

As well, if you have incurred other expenses that were not reimbursed, you may be able to claim them through a T2200. Although some of us have had experience with tax claims because of research and other such leaves, some of our members have not. In particular, this year most faculty and staff, will be eligible for the T2200.  This is a form that the employer and the employee fill out together, acknowledging that there was a requirement to work from home, allowing people to claim some of their home expenses that were not covered by the Employer.  At issue at OntarioTechU, is the University’s position that the employee must request a T2200 (they are not automatically provided in this work-from-home year), and that “The University will agree to sign and issue a T2200 form to an employee where all of the above circumstances exist.”

The OTU policy, by stating that they will only sign and issue the T2200, has been interpreted in the past to mean that the employee has to fill the form out themselves. The Employer will then either to agree to sign it depending on how certain boxes have been ticked off. These forms are confusing to many, and interpretation and meaning can be convoluted. The Employer is often more familiar with the language of these forms.

It is important to note that despite OTU’s policy on this form, Article 13.05 of our Collective Agreement overrides this policy, as does the Income Tax Act, which essentially states that both the Employee and the Employer will work together, as both parties are required to provide information to complete the form. The FA has sat with the Employer and requested that these forms be automatically be sent to our members, rather than providing the T2200 for only those who ask. It is the FAs position that by limiting the provision of the T2200 for only those who ask, this limits the number of people who may be able to benefit from this deduction.

Some other resources that may be of interest to our readers are:

The CRA website to the T2200 form is here:
https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/forms/t2200.html

New developments are expected around the T2200 for anyone who was required to work from home this year. An article in the Globe and Mail reported that that anyone can make a claim of $400 without having a T2200 or detailed expense information for those who would like to use it. While this may not be ideal for those who spent more than that, it may be appealing to some.

The CRA also will provide guidance on the T2200, including some special recent changes to this deduction for 2020 given the requirement for many people to work from home during the pandemic:

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-229-other-employment-expenses/salaried-employees/work-space-home-expenses.html

Probably one of the more generally valuable documents we have found is the Income Tax Primer for Academic Staff, put out by CAUT (the Canadian Association of University Teachers) with some general tax guidance for those in academia. In this document you will find not only information regarding the T2200, but also other more common tax issues that have been raised such as what to claim with respect to scholarships, sabbatical leaves, business income, and how and why you may want to incorporate:

https://www.caut.ca/docs/default-source/professional-advice/income-tax-primer-for-academc-staff-2014.pdf?sfvrsn=2

We hope this is not too soon for our Members. We encourage our Membership to seek out the advice certified tax consultants on these issues before you begin this process. We hope that even if you do not want to think about taxes at this point, that you will remember this link when you are ready to file those documents.

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