||Ask the Dollar Diva
Can I deduct moving expenses?
Dear Dollar Diva,
We live in Michigan, and we purchased a home in Florida. My husband
has not found a new job in Florida, but plans to find one as soon
as we get there.
Does he have to have a job prior to the move to deduct
the moving expenses on our tax return?
The quick answer is "No." But, of course, when it
comes to tax questions, it's never that easy. There are two tests
to pass to deduct your moving expenses: the distance test and the
You pass the distance test if the new job would add
50 miles or more to your current commute. This one's a slam-dunk.
You pass the time test if you are employed full-time
for at least 39 of the 52 weeks following the move. The 39 weeks
do not have to be consecutive and do not have to be with the same
employer. But there's only 13 weeks of wiggle room, so it may take
some hustling to pass this test.
If you deduct your moving expenses and later find
you didn't pass one of the two tests, you have two options:
- Amend the original tax return by filing a
- Include the moving expenses in gross income
the following year
The moving deduction rules differ for different categories
of people, such as the self-employed, members of the armed forces,
and retirees whose former home was outside the United States.
What you can deduct
Here are the main costs you can deduct.
- Packing, crating and transporting your furniture,
clothing, car, and other household and personal items to the new
location. This also includes the pet boas and pythons.
- Storing and insuring your stuff for any 30
consecutive days between moving from the old home to the new one.
- Lodging and travel for one trip from Michigan
to Florida. Plane fare, train fare, or tolls, parking and either
10 cents a mile or actual out-of-pocket costs for gas and oil.
Costs for meals and other trips taken to scope the area and go
house-hunting are not deductible.
For other moving tips, read the Diva's "Make