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Deductible Moving Expenses

Written by Edith Lank on Sunday, 13 June 1999 7:00 pm

Yes, Uncle Sam stands ready to help soften the expense of your job-related move.

No, he isn't quite as generous about it as he used to be.You may be eligible to deduct some moving expenses if:

  • Your new job or job transfer is at least 50 miles farther from your home than the old one was.
  • If you had no previous job, the new one is at least 50 miles from your old home.
  • You are in the armed forces and had a permanent change of station.

You are eligible if you are working full-time (defined as at least 39 weeks in the next year.) Expenses are included if they are incurred within one year from the day you reported to work at the new job. Time extensions are sometimes granted, if, for example, you remained in your old home until your daughter graduated from high school.

If you are self-employed, you also need at least 39 weeks in the 12 months after the move.

Generous provisions, however, allow coverage without the required length of time at the new job for members of the armed forces, those transferred by an employer, those who lost a job through no fault of their own, and persons returning to the United States from abroad when they retire (or their survivors).

The expenses are deducted directly from your adjusted gross income, rather than being included in itemized deductions. This may leave you free to take a standard deduction if that's usually to your advantage. It also bypasses the regulations that sometimes make itemized deductions less valuable.

If you are qualified, you may deduct the expenses of:

  • Packing and transporting household goods,
  • Mileage for use of your own car (or gas and oil expenses)
  • Tolls and parking fees on the trip
  • Up to 30 days' storage of household goods
  • Disconnecting and connecting utilities.
  • Transportation and lodging for yourself and members of your household while traveling to the new home.

No longer deductible: $3,000 more for up to 30 days' temporary living expenses, house hunting trips, or costs of selling an old home and buying a new one.

Related Articles:

  • Before You Move, Clear Out The Clutter
  • How to Pack: Tips, Tricks and Web Sites
  • Settling In: Pre-Move Pointers for Taking Stock
  • Preparing Your Child to Move
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