Monthly Newsletter for September 2012

by in Newsletter on Aug. 30, 2012

Job Search Expenses Can be Tax Deductible

Summertime is the season that often leads to major life decisions, such as buying a home, moving or a job change. If you are looking for a new job that is in the same line of work, you may be able to deduct some of your job hunting expenses on your federal income tax return.

Here are seven things the IRS wants you to know about deducting costs related to your job search:

1. To qualify for a deduction, your expenses must be spent on a job search in your current occupation. You may not deduct expenses you incur while looking for a job in a new occupation.

2. You can deduct employment and outplacement agency fees you pay while looking for a job in your present occupation. If your employer pays you back in a later year for employment agency fees, you must include the amount you received in your gross income, up to the amount of your tax benefit in the earlier year.

3. You can deduct amounts you spend for preparing and mailing copies of your résumé to prospective employers as long as you are looking for a new job in your present occupation.

4. If you travel to look for a new job in your present occupation, you may be able to deduct travel expenses to and from the area to which you travelled. You can only deduct the travel expenses if the trip is primarily to look for a new job. The amount of time you spend on personal activity unrelated to your job search compared to the amount of time you spend looking for work is important in determining whether the trip is primarily personal or is primarily to look for a new job.

5. You cannot deduct your job search expenses if there was a substantial break between the end of your last job and the time you begin looking for a new one.

6. You cannot deduct job search expenses if you are looking for a job for the first time.

7. The amount of job search expenses that you can claim is limited. To determine your deduction, use Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Job search expenses are claimed as a miscellaneous itemized deduction and the total of all miscellaneous deductions must be more than two percent of your adjusted gross income.




Moving?  Here are 10 Helpful Tax Tips

If you are moving to start a new job or even the same job at a new job location, the IRS offers 10 tax tips on expenses you may be able to deduct on your tax return.

1. Expenses must be close to the time you start work  Generally, you can consider moving expenses that you incurred within one year of the date you first report to work at a new job location. 

2. Distance Test  Your move meets the distance test if your new main job location is at least 50 miles farther from your former home than your previous main job location was from your former home.  For example, if your old main job location was three miles from your former home, your new main job location must be at least 53 miles from that former home.

3. Time Test  Upon arriving in the general area of your new job location, you must work full time for at least 39 weeks during the first year at your new job location. Self-employed individuals must meet this test, and they must also work full time for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months upon arriving in the general area of their new job location. If your income tax return is due before you have satisfied this requirement, you can still deduct your allowable moving expenses if you expect to meet the time test. There are some special rules and exceptions to these general rules, so see Publication 521, Moving Expenses for more information.

4. Travel  You can deduct lodging expenses (but not meals) for yourself and household members while moving from your former home to your new home. You can also deduct transportation expenses, including airfare, vehicle mileage, parking fees and tolls you pay, but you can only deduct one trip per person.

5. Household goods  You can deduct the cost of packing, crating and transporting your household goods and personal property, including the cost of shipping household pets. You may be able to include the cost of storing and insuring these items while in transit.

6. Utilities  You can deduct the costs of connecting or disconnecting utilities.

7. Nondeductible expenses  You cannot deduct as moving expenses: any part of the purchase price of your new home, car tags, a drivers license renewal, costs of buying or selling a home, expenses of entering into or breaking a lease, or security deposits and storage charges, except those incurred in transit and for foreign moves.

8. Form  You can deduct only those expenses that are reasonable for the circumstances of your move. To figure the amount of your deduction for moving expenses, use Form 3903, Moving Expenses.

9. Reimbursed expenses  If your employer reimburses you for the costs of a move for which you took a deduction, the reimbursement may have to be included as income on your tax return.

10. Update your address  When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive mail from the IRS. Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS.