Posted by Brian McCullough
It’s that time of year again. Tax time. So that means it’s also time to do my yearly reminder that certain aspects of your job search are tax deductible.
Let me start out by saying I am not a legal or accounting professional. The information I am going to share is guidance only, and is based on experiences I’ve had with clients. In addition, I am going to draw from publicly available IRS information. Please do not take my word for anything that follows: consult your own legal or accounting professional.
First of all, the form you want to refer to to learn all about job search expenses is IRS Publication 529.
Here are the things that are generally tax deductible for your job search:
- Phone calls, postage and printing expenses.
- All job search related travel. If the purpose of your trip is primarily related to your job search, you can deduct expenses related to it. If you are traveling for an interview, or evening traveling to apply or research open positions, this means you.
- Employment fees, association fees, agency fees and membership fees. If you pay to search, this is a viable expense.
- Resume related expenses, including the hiring of professional resume services. This can also extend to photographs you might take of yourself or even any expenses related to the promotion or advertising of your resume.
It is my understanding that you can deduct these expenses, even if your job search has not yet been successful.
Unfortunately, if this is your first time looking for a job, you cannot deduct any expenses. Sorry recent grads.
Also, please make note of these possible exceptions I found via H&R Block:
To qualify, your job search must be for a job in your current, or most recent, trade or business and should be at a similar level of responsibility with duties similar to those of your most recent job.
- If you haven’t held a job in that trade or business for an extended length of time, your job search will be considered for a new trade or business, and your deductions may not be allowed.
- If you held a college internship or valid job while in college and your search is for a job in the same trade or business, you will be able to deduct job search expenses.
- If you’re just out of school and had no paying jobs while in school that were related to your trade or business, your deductions won’t be allowed.
A bit more info:
The IRS classifies job search expenses as “miscellaneous itemized deductions.” Job search expenses are only deductible from your income if you itemize deductions and only to the extent that the total exceeds two percent of your adjusted gross income. Again, refer to Publication 529 on-line at www.irs.gov.
Finally, if you have to move for a new job, your moving expenses might also be deductible. If your new job is more than 50 miles further away from your former home than your previous job, you can deduct expenses for moving household goods and personal effects, and for travel to the new location. Publication 521 will give you all the information you need relating to moving expenses.