By Laura Keil, Editor/Publisher

I filed my family’s taxes last week and noticed a reminder in Turbotax regarding claiming work-from-home expenses. It was a friendly reminder for the millions of people who have worked from home this year and don’t know about the latest deduction method.

While I’m happy there’s deductions for working from home, as a result of the work-from-home trend, office buildings and normally bustling downtowns are deserted while people raid their own refrigerators.

Restaurants are some of the most vulnerable businesses during COVID-19, especially in our tourism and highway-traffic reliant towns. Since March 29, restaurants have been restricted to take-out or patio service only, squeezing them further. The Goat recently partnered up with Tourism Valemount to produce a take-out flyer listing Valemount restaurants that are offering take-out. There were 20 food establishments on that flyer. 20 sources of take-out in a town of 1,000 people. Thank goodness for the 600+ extra pipeline workers in town right now or we’d probably see permanent closures.

Tax deductions should do at least one of two things: remove inequities and encourage behaviour that, in the end, saves the country money (or makes it more efficient). Offering a tax credit for eating out as long as pandemic restrictions are in place makes perfect sense. You could cap it at, say, $700 per person. If it’s during work hours you’re allowed to write it off, whether you’re working from home or from the office. Plus, eating regularly isn’t just good for the restaurant, it’s also good for your concentration at work and leads to greater productivity.

We keep hearing about how much money people are saving during the pandemic and how many restaurants are closing permanently.

Let’s show our restaurant staff some love and advocate for a tax credit that’s a win-win.