Dear Tax Talk,
I was a schoolteacher in Indianapolis last year. I got married, found a new job in Chicago and moved. Can I deduct moving expenses?
— Sara

Dear Sara,
You can deduct your moving expenses if you meet all three of the following requirements:

  • Your move is closely related to the start of work.
  • You meet the distance test.
  • You meet the time test.

Although you may have moved to Chicago thinking about marriage, the fact that you eventually began working in Chicago will allow you to deduct your moving expenses. It is not necessary that you arrange to work before moving to a new location, as long as you actually go to work in that location. Generally, the start of the new job has to happen within one year of the move.

Your move will meet the distance test if your new main job location is at least 50 miles farther from your former home than your old main job location was from your former home. For example, if your old main job location was 3 miles from your former home, your new main job location must be at least 53 miles from that former home. You can use work sheet 1 in Publication 521 to see if you meet this test.

If you are an employee, you must work full time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months after you arrive in the general area of your new job location.

As it sounds like you meet these tests, you can deduct your moving expenses from Indianapolis to Chicago. Use Form 3903 to claim moving expenses.

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