If you moved because of a change in your job location or because you started a new job, you may be able to deduct your moving expenses if your move is closely related to the start of work. To qualify for the moving expense deduction, you must meet the distance and the time tests.
To deduct your move, it must be related to the start of work at a new principal place of work (workplace). If the new workplace is outside the United States or its possessions, you must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien to deduct your expenses. If you qualify to deduct expenses for more than one move, use a separate Form 3903 for each move. For more details, see Pub. 521, Moving Expenses.
If you meet the requirements, you can deduct the reasonable expenses of moving your household goods and personal effects to your new home. Reasonable expenses can include the cost of lodging (but not meals) while traveling to your new home. You cannot deduct the cost of sightseeing trips.
You cannot deduct any moving expenses that were reimbursed by your employer.
If you move to a new home because of a new principal workplace, you may be able to deduct your moving expenses whether you are self-employed or an employee. But you must meet both the distance and time tests.
Your new principal workplace must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old workplace was. For example, if your old workplace was 3 miles from your old home, your new workplace must be at least 53 miles from that home. If you did not have an old workplace, your new workplace must be at least 50 miles from your old home. The distance between the two points is the shortest of the more commonly traveled routes between them.
If you are an employee, you must work full time in the general area of your new workplace for at least 39 weeks during the 12 months right after you move. If you are self-employed, you must work full time in the general area of your new workplace for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months and a total of at least 78 weeks during the 24 monts right after you move.
What if you do not meet the time test before your return is due?
If you expect to meet the time test, you can deduct your moving expenses in the year you move. Later, if you do not meet the time test, you must either:
- Amend your tax return for the year you claimed the deduction by filing Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, or
- For the year you cannot meet the time test, report as income the amount of your moving expense deduction that reduced your income tax for the year you moved.
If you did not deduct your moving expenses in the year you moved and you later meet the time test, you can take the deduction by filing an amended return for the year you moved. To do this, use Form 1040X.
Exceptions to the Time Test:
You do not have to meet the time test if any of the following apply:
- Your job ends because of disability
- You are transferred for your employer's benefit
- You are laid off or discharged for a reason other than willful misconduct
- You are in the Armed Forces and the move is due to a permanent change of station
- You meet the requirements for retirees or survivors living outside the United States
- You are filing this form for a decedent
If you are a member of the Armed Forces, you do not have to meet the distance and time tests if the move is due to a permanent change of station, you do not have to satisfy the "distance or time test".