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Moving Expenses – Know What’s Deductible

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For most people, moving is a stressful process. Some studies and health websites even claim it is one of the top ten stressful life events. Not only is moving a major life disruption for you and your family, it often comes with a high price tag as well. So when tax time rolls around, hopefully you can relieve some of the financial stress associated with your move by writing off many of the expenses you have incurred. To ensure you meet the criteria for a tax write off and that you maximize the allowable expenses, use the following guidelines to fill out Form 3903 along with your 1040.

Before you claim your expenses, you must first make sure your move meets certain government guidelines.

Your move qualifies if the following applies:

  • relocation due to your main source of employment
  • you moved more than 50 miles
  • expenses were incurred within one year of reporting to the new job
  • you worked at least 39 weeks in the first twelve months of your new job

Allowable Expenses

  • Transportation- One trip per person. Airfare, ground travel (including parking , tolls, mileage, etc)
  • Lodging (no meals!)
  • Shipping/transporting pets
  • Storing household goods (30 consecutive days prior to or after move)
  • Packing and shipping household goods
  • Connecting/disconnecting utilities

Not Allowable Expenses

  • Car license/tags
  • Real estate or home sale-related expenses
  • Home improvements or furnishings

Special Circumstances

Aside from these general rules, there are many circumstances that are case specific. See Publication 521 for many more specific guidelines, including those for military and international moves.

Other Important Considerations

When it’s time to prepare your taxes, there are three other important considerations as you fill out Form 3903.

  1. You can write off moving expenses even if you don’t itemize deductions. All it takes is the preparation of Form 3903.
  2. You cannot “double dip” by claiming expenses as both business expenses and moving expenses.
  3. You must deduct the amount of any employer reimbursement for your moving expenses.

Being able to claim your moving expenses can reduce your moving-related stress and we are here to help alleviate the stress of filing your taxes.


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