Moving to a new location can be both challenging and costly. If you are moving for work, however, you may be able to recover some of the expense through tax deductions. The rules for deducting moving expenses on your income tax return are virtually the same regardless if you're married and filing jointly or using a different filing status.
If you are married and filing jointly, you can deduct moving expenses only if your move was necessary for your job or your spouse's job. To claim the deduction, you or your spouse must begin working in the new location within 12 months of the move. The new job location must also be 50 miles farther from your old house than the previous job was, and the spouse who started the new job must continue to work full time for a minimum of 39 weeks during the first year after the move.
Figuring the Deduction
If you and your spouse qualify for the deduction, you can claim the full amount of all deductible moving expenses. Deductible moving expenses include the cost of packing and transporting your personal belongings and your family members' belongings. You can also deduct travel costs for yourself and the members of your family. Lodging and the cost of transportation are both deductible, but meal costs are not.
Claiming the Deduction
To claim the deduction, you and your spouse must complete Form 3903 and attach it to your tax return. After completing the form, input the amount shown on line 5 on line 26 of Form 1040. You can claim this deduction only if you use the longer version of Form 1040. You cannot claim the deduction on Form 1040A or 1040EZ. However, you can claim the deduction whether or not you itemize.
You can claim a moving expense deduction whether you file separately from your spouse or jointly. However, filing jointly allows you to claim the expenses against your combined income. If you choose to file separately, only the spouse who began a new job that meets all of the qualifications for the deduction can claim it.
Amanda McMullen is a freelancer who has been writing professionally since 2010. She holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics and a second bachelor's degree in integrated mathematics education.