Sunday, March 1, 2015

It's March 1 and PRESTO delivers Transit Usage Reports on time

My name is not on the report. My PRESTO card number is on it which means because I file my taxes online, I will have to prove this report is mine by sending in a hard copy. I should get the letter around October. I get a letter every year from Revenue Canada asking for the report. Last year, they took issue with the fact that unlike years prior, my name was missing. After some back and forth, the claim was satisfied.

The amount shown for the Total e-Purse Trips lines up with my personal spreadsheet where I've tracked my trips for the year. This is the amount I will be claiming:

As for the whole "my name is missing, here's what PRESTOcard on Twitter had to say:


Nora1968 said...

I was pleasantly surprised to see that, yes, the transit report was available. I clicked to see if it looked accurate, and on the surface I think it is. Amazing!

Now hopefully CRA won't give me a hard time since, as last year, there is only the identifying number of my Presto Card on the report.... stay tuned!

Nahid said...

I've never actually used a Presto Transit Report to claim a tax credit, but looking at my transit report today I see a problem with reporting amounts week by week rather than day by day. The actual CRA rule is that you must have at least 32 one-way trips in a period less than 31 days to get the tax credit. How are you supposed to prove this when the Presto Transit Report shows week by week?

Say for example I have 7 trips in weeks 1 to 4 and then 4 trips in week 5. How do I prove to the CRA that I made those trips in less than 31 days rather than in 35 days? I'll be using Presto more frequently this year on the TTC and will have to take screenshots of my transaction history monthly since I've figured out that I'm going to run into scenarios like the one I have presented above.

Bicky said...

I downloaded my report too. I was amazed that the number of rides on matched up with what I calculated.

My name is not on my report either. As I file online, I'll keep the report handy in case I need to send it in. I seem to be asked every couple of years.

Although, I have discovered, I can add my name with Adobe PDF Reader. Tempting.

Nahid said...

To add to my last comment, I was just looking at the Presto FAQs and they say this regarding my issue:

Why does PRESTO group travel in weekly segments on the TUR daily? Why don’t you list it daily?

To give you the most flexibility in identifying eligible trips, your Transit Usage Report summarizes the number of trips and costs on a weekly basis.

This sounds like complete bullshit. How exactly does listing trips weekly give me the most flexibility in identifying eligible trips when the CRA rule says 31 days or less?

Anonymous said...

I wish the report would highlight time periods (and transit costs) for times when I actually qualify for the tax credit instead of just all trips. Due to the fact that in 2014 I was working a job where I mostly drove to work, and only used transit for the odd journey here and there (94 trips in total over the whole year) I assume I'm not eligible to qualify for any credit, since I don't have the required 32 trips over 31 days? If I wanted a report called "weeks where I went on the bus at least once" then I wouldn't need to wait until March 1st for it...

Bicky said...

The requirement for minimum 32 rides in an uninterrupted period not exceeding 31 days is so bloody confusing. They should say 32 rides in a month. Base it all on a calendar month.

So if you're riding for three weeks and then take two days off, and pick it up again, does that make it an interrupted period? So you can't count that 4 week period? What if you work at home one day a week. Is that another interruption?

I typically add up the rides in a calendar month. If I have a minimum of 32 rides that month, I count that month and what I paid.

It was so much easier when I had a monthly pass.

Nahid said...

I completely disagree Becky. The 31 day period gives you more flexibility over having it be by calendar month. The uninterrupted period just means that you must have at least 32 trips in any non-overlapping 31 day period of your choosing. This means a period from January 15 to February 15 would qualify, but a period from Jan 15 to Jan 31 and Feb 15 to Feb 28 would not qualify as it is an interrupted period.

A calendar month would actually always qualify according to CRA rules, so you can always think of it that way if it makes it easier for you.

Anonymous said...

Amazing! It's on time! And seems to be accurate!

Now I have to ask, why does it take two months to generate these reports? Always have to wait to do my taxes as this is always the last piece of info remaining. It's all electronic, couldn't it be available Jan 1st?

C.J. Smith said...

Okay so I got some answers:

Reports are left until the first of March to allow for cards issued in January and February enough time to be registered by the cardholder so they qualify for next year's taxes. Should this delay existing cardholders' reports? No but if PRESTO has been designed to operate a certain way where reports can't be batched separately then this will always be the way.

Rides are grouped week by week to accommodate for the types of transit systems PRESTO serves and to help riders easily identify trips. Many people actually find this not helpful.

For GO Transit customers, you should claim the amount at the bottom that shows the total trips for your ePurse.

Nahid said...

"For GO Transit customers, you should claim the amount at the bottom that shows the total trips for your ePurse."

This point is incorrect. You can only claim the total trips amount if you have at least 32 trips in each period of 31 days or less in 2014. For example, my bottom total shows $184.55 but I can't actually claim this amount because I am a very sporadic Presto and usually make under 4 trips per month.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty clear that you can't claim your PRESTO fare. Why are you fighting about something that is no use to you?
For people who take GO everyday the report needs to be right by us. For people who use PRESTO sporadically - who cares?

C.J. Smith said...

Hi Nahid
I would give PRESTO customer service a call and let them know your concerns.

Nahid said...

It's pretty clear that you can't claim your PRESTO fare. Why are you fighting about something that is no use to you?
For people who take GO everyday the report needs to be right by us. For people who use PRESTO sporadically - who cares?"

It matters to me because I plan to start using Presto 8 times a week starting in April 2015 to get to work. So although I can't make a claim this year, I will be making a claim next year and from looking at my report for 2014 I can foresee running into issues due to the way this report is set up.

C.J. Smith said...

Hi Nahid

For what's it worth, I never paid attention to the structure, just the final amount as I take GO every day.

The CRA has never questioned how the report is itemized, just who it belongs to or requiring proof the report belongs to the taxpayer.

If you're confident you will be traveling as many times a month as you say: 16 days (=32 one way trips over four times a week using March as an example), I would just claim the ePurse amount that will be shown on your 2015 report.

Sylv said...

I am looking forward to getting a "please explain" letter this year, as I got a new card at the end of May (after some auto-reload problems with the first card). I now have two reports to submit, neither with my name on it.

April said...

I am still stuck at "on time" and "accurate".

I am waiting for the shoe to drop.

Bicky said...

It's my understanding that the reports will be revamped for 2015.

Anonymous said...

Metrolinx recommends just writing your name in - hope they're sure this is a-ok legally speaking to alter

Anonymous said...

I checked my report against my own spreadsheet and the report is missing 2 trips. Appears to be the two trips where I overrode the default trip. One where I forgot to tap off after and one where the tap off didn't register although the display on the reader showed I tapped off. Appears the full fare (penalty) charged the next time I tapped on confused the system. I did get the credits back though. Just an FYI.

C.J. Smith said...

Thanks for the Twitter status.
I hope people keep up the onslaught.
The reports should be consistent year to year.

Anonymous said...

The report has always been wrong for this case: tap when take Miway to a GO station then tap to get on a GO train. Presto charges the former Miway full fare (this is correct) and the latter the result of {Go fare + Miway co-fare 0.75 - Miway full fare} (this is also correct). The report is supposed to list for Miway the Miway co-fare 0.75 and for GO the GO fare, but instead it lists the charges above.

Gemma said...

CJ - if you claim the full total, does that mean you never take vacation? Doesn't that impact the 32 rides in 31 days issue? I went through last year and carefully counted my days out as due to vacation I couldn't claim "months" as someone mentioned earlier. I do miss the monthly cards - if I had one, I claimed it, if I didn't musta been vacation.

C.J. Smith said...


I took 4 weeks off total in 2014. I did not count August or December as qualifying for the tax credit. So I disregarded the totals for March and August and it came to $2894.94

The final total of my PRESTO transactions was actually $3,434.61. I am only claiming the epurse total as that amounts to the rides I qualify for.

Other people just claim the total amount and wait to see what happens.

I tracked and I got $2900.00 so $2894.94 works for me.

TomW said...

I wish they would give rides and total by *day*, then we could we add it up however we want. Also, show each agency separately.

Gemma said...

Yes, I managed to just discount December as a whole and it seems to work out fine for me. Thanks - I had missed that you weren't claiming the full total - I certainly see NO reason to have the CRA question me if I can avoid it lol!