Expert Moving Advice

What moving expenses are tax-deductible in the tax year 2020?

April 05, 2021|

Tax deductions are a complicated business. They’re constantly changing, and the IRS rules governing write-offs are often so numerous and head-scratching that it can be difficult to figure out what is a deduction and what isn’t.

Take the California man who once tried to deduct his live-in girlfriend. (No word if she stuck around.) In Hawaii, you can deduct money for an “exceptional tree.”

So how about something more straightforward, like moving expenses? Is moving tax deductible?

Well, it used to be, but you may not qualify in 2021. Previously, a taxpayer was allowed to deduct the costs associated with changing addresses on federal taxes, as long as the move was related to a new, full-time job, and the new location was a certain distance away from the place of work.

But all that changed with the passage of the not-very-creatively-titled “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.”

Grab a magnifying glass and dig into Sec. 11048, specifically. The law suspended the ability of Americans to take the moving expense deduction associated with a new job.

The exception is active-duty military members and their families. Armed forces members can still claim the tax credit when moving from an old home to a new home.

To make matters worse, if your (non-military) employer provided a reimbursement for your moving costs, you’re no longer allowed to exclude that money from your gross income. It counts as taxable income, and you’re required to report it on your tax return and pay up to Uncle Sam.

If you’re still not sure if you can deduct moving expenses from your income taxes, the IRS offers a handy online quiz.

The good news — if there is ever such a thing with taxes — is that the federal moving expenses deduction could return. The 2017 law only suspended it until 2026. Congress could choose to make the suspension permanent, though.

And you can always check to see if moving deductions are allowed in the state where you live. While moving deductions have been mostly banished at the federal level, some states still permit them. Good thing. Moving is tough enough without getting a little something in return.

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