Looking for a New Job? Your Job Search Expenses May Be Tax Deductible

If they meet certain criteria, you may be able to deduct your job search expenses from your taxes

Job Application / Looking for a New Job? Your Job Search Expenses May Be Tax Deductible
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March 23, 2017

People change jobs for many reasons. Some are laid off; others want a new challenge; and still others simply don't like the job they currently hold. Whatever your reason for looking for a new position, if your job search expenses meet certain criteria, you may be able to deduct them from your taxes.

Tax-Deductible Job Search Expenses

Here are the requirements your expenses must meet if you want to deduct them from your taxes.

  1. Same Occupation
  2. You have to be looking for a new position in your current line of work. If you're changing career fields, related expenses are not deductible.

  3. Resume Costs
  4. Although most people apply for jobs online now, there are still some who do it the old-fashioned way. These people will be happy to know that the costs of preparing and mailing your resume are deductible.

  5. Travel Expenses
  6. In order for the costs of traveling in search of a new job to be deductible, looking for work must be the main purpose of the trip. However, you might still be able to deduct some costs if it isn't.

  7. Placement Agencies
  8. Are you signed up with a placement agency? You can deduct some of their fees.

Non-Deductible Job Search Expenses

There are some expenses related to the job search that you can't deduct from your taxes. These are the following:

  1. First Job
  2. Sorry, new grads: if this is the first time you're looking for a job, you can't deduct your expenses.

  3. Substantial Break between Jobs
  4. Was there a significant amount of time between when your last job ended and when you started looking for a new one? If so, you can't deduct the expenses. Contact the IRS to find out what qualifies as a "substantial break."

  5. Reimbursed Costs
  6. Have any of your expenses been reimbursed? If so, they are not deductible.

For more information on how the job search can affect your taxes, see IRS Publication 529:Miscellaneous Deductions.

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