Tax ques­tion about mov­ing ex­penses

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Front Page -

Ques­tion: I’m about to move to Florida to take a new job. Will my mov­ing ex­penses be de­ductible?

An­swer: I get this and sim­i­lar ques­tions of­ten, es­pe­cially when the April 15 in­come-tax dead­line draws near. And the an­swer is al­ways the same: It largely de­pends on how far you’re mov­ing.

Gen­er­ally, the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice will let you deduct your mov­ing ex­penses if your new job is at least 50 miles far­ther from your old home than your old job was. If you meet this so-called “dis­tance test,” you can deduct the cost of hir­ing pro­fes­sional movers — both for pack­ing and the ac­tual trans­porta­tion of your house­hold goods — or the cost of rent­ing a mov­ing van if you’re do­ing the work your­self.

You can also deduct the cost of travel for your­self and the mem­bers of your house­hold from your old home to your new home. That in­cludes the cost of lodg­ing, but not meals.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the IRS pro­vides move-re­lated mileage de­duc­tions. The fig­ure was 23 cents per mile in 2015, but the rate for moves that will be made this year hasn’t been de­ter­mined yet.

There are some caveats. For starters, ex­penses that are re­im­bursed by your new em­ployer are not de­ductible. Equally im­por­tant, you must take the most di­rect route from your old home to your new one. That means that if you’re mov­ing, say, from Chicago to Mi­ami but plan to swing north first to spend a week in New York, you can’t ex­pect Un­cle Sam to help un­der­write your sight-see­ing jaunt.

For­tu­nately, you don’t need to item­ize to take th­ese de­duc­tions. All you need to do is to com­plete the five-line Form 3903, Mov­ing Ex­penses, and at­tach it to your Form 1040.

David W. My­ers

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