Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the nearest designated city for B.C. residents was Vancouver.

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Canadian Revenue Agency has expanded the travel portion of the Northern Residents Deduction to include personal trips.

Previously, residents could only claim the taxable travel benefit if their employer offered it.

Through this change, it is now available to those in the north and their families, even if there’s no taxable benefit received for the trip.

A spokesperson for the CRA, Zeeshan Ahmed, says an important thing for residents to note is that there is a maximum amount they can claim for each eligible trip.

“The maximum deduction is the lowest of the following: the value of the taxable travel benefit received from an employer, the new $1,200 standard amount that you put towards the trip or the actual amount you spent on the trip, or the lowest of the return airfare available at the time of the trip between your home and the nearest designated city,” Ahmed explained.

According to the CRA website, the nearest designated city for residents of Fort St. John is Edmonton.

He recommends those claiming the benefit keep all their receipts and supporting documents in case the CRA asks to see them.

“If you’re planning on claiming [the benefit], fill out the T 2222 and attach it to your paper return, or if you’re using a certified tax software, like 90 per cent of Canadians, it should walk you through the process. It’s quite seamless,” Ahmed said.

The agency also expanded tax benefits for those working from home needing to write off home office expenses.

“It’s been increased since last year. The simplified method gets you a deduction of $2 a day up to a maximum of 250 days or $500. So if you spent the majority of your time working from home, you could claim it,” Ahmed said.

He reminds residents that the deadline to file taxes is April 30th, 2022. However, because this date falls on a Saturday, the CRA will consider the return as filed on time if it is received on or is postmarked on or before May 2nd, 2022.

Ahmed says that those that need help filing their taxes who earn a modest income and have a simple tax situation may be able to get their taxes filed for free through a community volunteer income tax program.

To find a free tax clinic near you here.

To find out more about Northern Residents Deductions for 2021, click here.