Deducting Moving Expenses Provides Tax Savings to Many Americans "On-The-Move"

December 1, 1995

EVANSVILLE, (Ind.) -- If you're one of the 17 percent of the population who moved during the past year, you may be pleasantly surprised to know that many of your moving expenses can be deducted. In fact, if your relocation meets the necessary requirements, "reasonable moving expenses" can be fully tax-deductible. Tax savings on the typical $3,500 household move can add up to as much as $1,000.

If you have been, or are going to be, fully reimbursed by your employer for your moving expenses, you don't have to claim the money as part of your income. That means you don't have to fill out a moving expense tax form. On the other hand, if you paid for your own move, you can still save a bundle by knowing which moving expenses are deductible. Moving experts at Atlas Van Lines offer the following helpful information.

There are six criteria you must meet in order to deduct moving expenses. If you meet the criteria, you can deduct those expenses even if you don't file an itemized return:

  1. You must be moving to a new principal residence to work as an employee or as a self-employed individual at a new principal place of work.
  2. Your new job location must be at least 50 miles farther from your former residence than your old job location.
  3. You must be employed full-time in the general vicinity of the new job location for 39 weeks during the 12-month period following the move. The self-employed person must continue to work in the new location for at least 78 weeks during the 24 months following the move, of which
    at least 39 weeks must be in the first 12 months.
  4. If you pay the expenses in one tax year, but do not satisfy the working requirements by the due date of the tax return, you may still deduct the expenses if you reasonably expect to satisfy the condition in the succeeding tax year. If you fail to satisfy the requirements, you must report an equal amount of income in the succeeding year or amend the prior year's return.
  5. You may not deduct expenses in excess of a reasonable amount.
  6. Foreign moves and moves by military personnel are subject to special limitations.

Among the expenses you can deduct are transportation from old residence to new, packing and crating, unpacking, 30 days of storage in transit, 30 days of insurance to cover your belongings, shipping your automobile, transporting your household pets, and the family trip to the new residence--except for meals.

Becoming familiar with deductible allowances for moving expenses will allow you to take advantage of tax savings available to Americans on the move. For more information on deducting moving expenses, contact the IRS Problem Solving line at 1-800-829-1040 and ask for publication number 521 on moving expenses. Atlas Van Lines also offers a brochure called "How to Deduct Moving From Your Taxes." For a free copy, call 800-638-9797, ext. 2268.