On December 22, 2017, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law. The information in this article predates the tax reform legislation and may not apply to tax returns starting in the 2018 tax year. You may wish to speak to your tax advisor about the latest tax law. This publication is provided for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. This publication is protected by copyright.
In general, moving deductions are deductible if you meet certain qualifying tests. However, like other parts of the tax law, there are exceptions and special cases. The following is an abbreviated overview of the qualifications for domestic moves. Foreign and military moves require certain special qualifications. Click here for a worksheet to record your Moving Deductions.
1. Distance Test – A move will meet the distance test if the new main job location is at least 50 miles farther from your former home than your old main job location was from your former home. For example, if your old main job was 3 miles from your former home, your new main job must be at least 53 miles from that former home. The distance between a job location and your home is the shortest of the more commonly traveled routes between them. The distance test considers only the location of your former home. It does not take into account the location of your new home.
2. Related to Start of Work Test – Your move must be closely related, both in time and in place, to the start of work at your new job location. You can generally consider moving expenses incurred within one year from the date you first reported to work at the new location as closely related in time to the start of work. It is not necessary that you arrange to work before moving to a new location, as long as you actually do go to work.
3. Time Test – To deduct your moving expenses, you also must meet one of the following time tests.
Time test for employees – If you are an employee, you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months after you arrive in the general area of your new job location. For this time test, count only your full-time work as an employee; do not count any work you do as a self-employed person. You do not have to work for the same employer for the 39 weeks. You do not have to work 39 weeks in a row. However, you must work full-time within the same general commuting area.
Time test for self-employed persons – If you are self-employed, you must work full time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months AND for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months after you arrive in your new job location. For this time test, count any full-time work you do as an employee or as a self-employed person. You do not have to work for the same employer or be self-employed in the same trade or business for the 78 weeks.
Deductible Moving Expenses – You can deduct only those expenses that are reasonable for the circumstances of your move. For example, the cost of traveling from your former home to your new one should be by the shortest, most direct route available by conventional transportation. If during your trip to your new home, you make side trips for sightseeing, the additional expenses for your side trips are not deductible as moving expenses.
1) Household goods and personal effects – You can deduct the cost of packing, crating, and transporting your household goods and personal effects and those of the members of your household from your former home to your new home.
2) Storing and Insuring Household Goods – You can include the cost of storing and insuring household goods and personal effects within any period of 30 consecutive days after the day your things are moved from your former home and before they are delivered to your new home.
3) Connecting & Disconnecting Utilities – You can deduct any costs of connecting or disconnecting utilities required because you are moving your household goods, appliances, or personal effects. You can deduct the cost of shipping your car and your household pets to your new home.
4) Travel expenses – You can deduct the cost of transportation and lodging for yourself and members of your household while traveling from your former home to your new home. This includes expenses for the day you arrive. You can include any lodging expenses you had in the area of your former home within one day after you could not live in your former home because your furniture had been moved. You can deduct expenses for only one trip to your new home for yourself and members of your household. However, all of you do not have to travel together.
5) Meals – Meals are NOT a deductible moving expense!
6) Travel by car – If you use your car to take yourself, members of your household, or your personal effects to your new home, you can figure your expenses by deducting either:
Your actual expenses, such as gas and oil for your car, if you keep an accurate record of each expense (Do not include general maintenance, repairs. Insurance, etc., are not allowed), or
The allowable cents per mile for the year. The allowable cents per mile is adjusted each year. For 2016 the rate is 19.0 cents per mile. Call for the mileage rate for other years.
7) Parking Fees & Tolls – You can deduct parking fees and tolls you pay in moving.
Special Rules for Military Personnel
To deduct moving expenses, the military taxpayer usually must meet general time and distance tests. However, if the member of the Armed Forces is on active duty and moves because of a permanent change of station, they do not need to meet those tests.
Permanent change of station – A permanent change of station includes:
A move from the military member’s home to his or her first post of active duty,
A move from one permanent post of duty to another, and
A move from the last post of duty to the member’s home or to a nearer point in the United States. The move must occur within one year of ending active duty service or within the period allowed under the Joint Travel Regulations.