Are Moving Expenses Tax-Deductible?
Victoria Araj3-minute read
August 21, 2023
It’s no surprise that moving comes with certain expenses that can get costly. From paying for packing materials to renting moving trucks and securing temporary storage, gathering up all of your belongings and moving somewhere new can require a lot of money as well as time. Given all this, you might find yourself wondering if any of these expenses are tax-deductible.
Let’s learn more about moving expenses and see whether you can deduct them from your taxes.
A Brief History On Deducting Moving Expenses
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress made some deduction and rate changes to individual income tax. Once this bill became law, taxpayers were no longer allowed to deduct any moving expenses unless they’re active-duty members of the U.S. military (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force or Coast Guard). This policy will remain in effect until January 1, 2026.
What Are Moving Expenses?
The IRS considers almost anything you spend money on during the moving process to be a moving expense. How much it costs to move can obviously differ from person to person depending on the specific situation. For instance, if you’re moving from a small apartment to a larger home, you might not have a lot of furniture yet. As a result, you should be able to load all of your belongings into your personal vehicles and avoid paying for large moving trucks or even professional packers. Examples of moving expenses include:
- Moving trucks
- Professional movers
- Packing materials (boxes, tape, bubble wrap)
- Travel costs to your new home (driving or flying)
- Storage for items that aren’t going to be moved
- Cleaning supplies and services
- Moving insurance
- Hotel rooms booked during the travel days of the move
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What Moving Expenses Are Tax-Deductible?
The average taxpayer packing up their belongings and relocating to a new place isn’t eligible for tax deductions on their moving costs. However, if you’re an active-duty member of the military, you’re able to deduct moving expenses on your taxes for you, your spouse and dependents. It’s important to know that you’ll still need to meet certain requirements, however. For example, your move must be due to a military order and permanent change of station.
The IRS allows military members to deduct just about anything they purchase throughout the moving and packing process. This includes storage space, packing materials, hotel rooms booked during travel to the new home and most other expenses directly connected to the move. The only expense that really can’t be deducted is money spent on meals and various food items.
Keep in mind, too, that you can’t deduct any moving expenses that are going to already be reimbursed or paid for by the government. For instance, if the government is going to reimburse you for the cost of a moving truck, you can’t include that as a deductible moving expense on your tax forms.
How To Deduct Your Moving Expenses
Military members looking to deduct their moving expenses will need to record all of the eligible moving expenses on IRS Form 3903. From there, they’ll include the moving expense total on their Form 1040, which is their individual income tax return.
As with any tax information, please consult a tax professional with any questions you have. The forms and regulations surrounding moving expenses can change over time.
FAQs About Tax-Deductible Moving Expenses
Let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about tax-deductible moving expenses.
What counts as a qualified moving expense?
A moving expense that qualifies as tax-deductible must be purchased during the moving process. Examples of such expenses include storage units, lodging, gas and other expenses that might arise while packing your personal belongings and moving them to a new location.
Can I deduct my moving expenses if I’m a military member?
Yes. If you’re an active-duty military member, you can deduct your eligible moving expenses as long as they’re not already being paid for or reimbursed by the government.
How do I claim moving expenses on my taxes?
Moving expenses can be recorded on IRS Form 3903. This form is only for taxpayers who are moving for work and are an active-duty member of the armed forces. Your moving expenses will be eligible as long as you meet the necessary requirements.
The Bottom Line
The money spent on a move is tax-deductible if you’re an active-duty member of the military, satisfy certain criteria and fill out the proper documentation when completing your taxes. Moving expenses can include anything from packing materials to moving trucks or even the gas used to drive to your new military station.
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