It’s Tax Season; When You Can Deduct Your Move

(U.S. Army photo illustration by Thomas Hamilton III)

Moving is expensive. That kind of goes without saying. There’s a downpayment or security deposit on your new place. You might have to lay down additional money on getting your utilities turned on, and of course, we can’t forget the cost of the move itself.

While we don’t know much about the tax ramifications of your downpayment or deposits, we do know that there are some circumstances where you can write your move off.

You Have to Move a Certain Distance

You don’t necessarily have to move to another state to claim your move as a tax deduction, but there is a distance requirement, and for Californians who often have long commutes, that’s not always easy.

If you are moving for a new job, your new home has to be at least 50 miles further away than your old home was from your old job. In other words, if your old commute was 30 miles, your new job need to be at least 80 miles from your old home before the IRS will help pay for your move to a closer abode.

Military personnel are an exception, and can always claim their moving expenses, if they are moving because of work or retirement.

You Have to Meet a Time Requirement

In order to claim the tax deduction, you must work full-time at least 39 weeks within the first 12 months after moving. There are no requirements that the 39 weeks have to be with the same job; so if your first job after moving doesn’t work out, that’s okay. The next job you find will also count toward the 39 weeks.

What You Can Write Off

Obviously, there are limits to what you can write off as part of your move. Generally, if you meet the other criteria, you can write off the cost of the mover or truck rental, fuel, storage, mileage on your own vehicle, and hotels, all within reason.

How to Claim the Move

You will need to file Form 3903 with your taxes.

No matter what you do, though, please don’t take our word for anything. Ask your tax professional.