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Get Your Moving Expenses Deducted

The time test

To be eligible for the moving expenses tax deduction, you must also work full-time for an employer in the vicinity of your new job location for at least 39 weeks during the year following your move. It's important to note that these weeks do not have to be consecutive or with the same employer, so you are free to change jobs after you move. There are also exceptions for disability, death, involuntary separation, and other special situations. Additionally, if your employer transfers you or fires you after you move, the IRS will overlook the 39-week requirement.

Deductible moving expenses

With the moving expenses tax deduction, you are allowed to deduct the non-reimbursed cost of moving household goods and personal belongings to a new residence. This can include the cost of transportation, packing, unpacking, storage-in-transit, and valuation. Note that each qualified expense is limited to 30 days — for example, you can deduct the cost of renting a storage unit for up to 30 days (if you cannot move into your new home right after leaving your old residence).

Moving expenses that qualify for this tax deduction include the following:
• The cost of shipping automobiles and boats
• The cost of transporting household pets (including dogs, cats, tropical fish, etc.)
• The moving-related cost associated with connecting and disconnecting utilities
• The cost of moving personal belongings from a place other than your old residence (such as a summer home or relative's home), but not exceeding what it would have cost to move them from your old residence
• The cost of lodging (for you and other members of your household) while traveling to the new residence (but not the cost of meals)

Make sure you keep track of your moving receipts so you can take advantage of the moving expenses tax break.

Note: You cannot deduct any moving expenses that are paid for by your employer — that means any costs covered by reimbursements from your employer. Additionally, keep in mind there are special rules for the moving expenses tax deduction if you are self-employed, married filing jointly, or a member of the armed forces.

Claiming the moving expenses tax deduction

To claim this tax deduction, your moving expenses should be figured on IRS Tax Form 3903 (Moving Expenses) and deducted as an adjustment to your income on IRS Tax Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return). Attach Form 3903 to the 1040 Form that covers the year in which you moved. You do not have to complete or submit a Schedule A to claim the moving expenses tax deduction.

According to the IRS, you should not file Form 3903 if all of the following apply:
• You moved to a location outside of the United States in a previous year.
• You are claiming only storage fees while you were away from the United States.
• Any amount your employer paid for the storage fees is included as “wages” in Box 1 of your IRS Tax Form W-2.

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