If you’ve moved recently, it’s possible you’ll be able to deduct your moving expenses from your federal taxes. However, there are a number of qualifications you need to meet for the moving expenses deduction to apply.
Qualifying for a Moving Expenses Deduction
There are three requirements you must meet to claim a moving expenses deduction:
- Your new home must be at least 50 miles farther away from your old job’s location than your old home was. For instance, if your old home was five miles from your old job, your new home must be 55 miles away from your old job.
- You must work at least 39 of the first 52 weeks in your new location during the first year. For the self-employed, you must work at least 78 weeks at the new job site within the first two years.
- The move has to be timely. You must move within one year of getting the new job, or otherwise be able to show a legitimate reason for the delay — for instance, if you waited to move until your spouse got a new job.
What Can I Deduct?
If you meet all three of the above tests, you can deduct a number of expenses related to your move, including:
- Connection and disconnection fees for utilities
- Shipping items to your new home, including cars and pets
- Cost of hiring a moving company and/or a truck
- Cost of materials needed for packing, including boxes, crates, and tape
- Cost of storing and insuring goods; if you have to temporarily store your possessions, you can deduct the cost of that storage if it’s for at least 30 consecutive days
- Travel costs for you and your household members, including gas and lodging, but not food
- Car-related costs either by keeping record of the actual costs related to the move — e.g., oil changes and gas — or based on mileage; the mileage rate for moving expenses is 19 cents per mile
What Aren't Deductible as Moving Expenses?
Many expenses are not deductible as part of a move, including:
- Any costs related to buying or selling a house, including mortgage fees and closing costs
- Costs related to entering into or breaking a lease
- Food costs on your trip from your old home to your new one
- House-hunting expenses
- Losses from canceled memberships due to a move
- Refitting carpets and draperies or other home improvements to either the old home or the new one
- Trips back to your previous residence
- Unreturned deposits on leases
Although moving across town doesn’t qualify you for a moving expenses deduction, if you’re moving across the country for a new job, it’s well worth it to keep track of your expenses. Driving yourself, your family, and everything you own from your old home to your new one can cost a lot. By tracking mileage, lodging, and storage expenses, you can save yourself and your family a lot of money at tax time.
For more information on moving expenses, see IRS Publication 521.
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