Tax Deductible Job Search Expenses

Important: Job search expenses are no longer deductible in tax years 2018 through 2025 due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). We will keep the information below for back taxes or previous year's tax returns and for the future.

Job Search

A job search can generate a substantial amount of expense when you start adding up printing costs, travel costs, and expenses incurred from networking. You can deduct the following expenses incurred while looking for a new job, even if you are presently employed and have not been offered a new job: 

You cannot deduct these expenses if:

  • You are looking for a job in a new/different profession
  • There was a substantial break between the end of your last job and your search for a new one
  • You are in the job market for the first time
  • The expenses were reimbursed

Learn more about job loss related tax effects.

Employment and Outplacement Agency Fees

You can deduct some job placement agency fees you pay to look for a new job in your current profession. Should your employer repay you for employment agency fees at a later date, you must include any amount received in your gross income up to the amount of your tax benefit in the earlier year. The IRS refers to this type of income as a recovery and it is considered taxable income. See more information about recoveries. If your new employer pays the job search expenses for your recruitment directly to the employment agency, you should not include them in your gross income.

Moving Expenses Related to a New Job

From Tax Years 2018-2025, you can only claim the moving expenses deduction if you are an active duty military member or if you are an employee who incurred reimbursed expenses dated before January 1, 2018 and did not claim them on a prior tax return.

If you recently moved to another city for a new job or because your old job is now at a new location, you may be able to deduct your job related moving expenses on 2017 and earlier Tax Returns. The key qualifiers for this deduction are how far you moved and the amount of time you spend on the job. Moves that are only short distances and jobs that are short-term or part-time generally do not qualify. However, if you can satisfy the distance and time tests, then your job-related moving expenses might be tax deductible. Members of the armed forces do not have to meet these tests if the move was due to a permanent change of station.

How to Meet the Distance Test

The distance test is met if your new workplace is at least 50 miles further from your former home than your previous workplace from that home. For example, if your old job was 10 miles from your former home, your new job must be at least 60 miles from that home.

How to Meet the Time Test

To fulfill the time test, you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the 12 months immediately following your move. If you are self-employed, the time test requires you to work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months and for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months after your move. You can deduct your moving expenses on your tax return even though you have not met the time test by the date your return is due if you expect to meet the 39-week or the 78-week test as required.

Other Expenses Related to a Job Move

Realistic and practical moving job expenses are deductible and include the costs of moving your personal and household items to your new home. You can also deduct the expenses of traveling to your new home, including lodging costs.

However, you cannot deduct the following expenses:

  • The cost of meals eaten while traveling between your old and new homes
  • The purchase price of your new home
  • Expenses covered by reimbursements excluded from income

See additional information about moving expenses.

Resume Fees

You can claim a deduction on expenses incurred for preparing and mailing copies of a resume to prospective employers.

Travel and Transportation Expenses

If you travel to and from another area to search for a new position in your current occupation, you may be able to deduct the cost of the trip. However, the trip must be primarily related to a new job search in order for the travel expenses to be deductible. If looking for a job is not the main objective of the trip, you may still be able to deduct some travel costs. The amount of time spent on personal activity compared to the amount of time spent searching for work will determine whether the trip is primarily a personal or a job searching trip.

Should the trip turn out to be non-deductible, you may be able to deduct the expenses directly related to searching for a new job in your present occupation while in the area. In order to calculate any car-related expenses, you may use the standard mileage rate. See more information about job search related mileage rates.

Job Search Expenses

Report job search expenses as miscellaneous deductions on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. You can deduct the total miscellaneous deductions that are more than two percent of your adjusted gross income. When you prepare your return on, you will be able to add all of your job and job search expenses and we will prepare all the forms you need to include this on your tax return, so you don't have to worry about what forms you need or how to do the calculations.

Premium Tax Credit Related to Your Job Search

If you received an advance payment of the Premium Tax Credit (which provides financial assistance to help you pay for health insurance you buy through the Health Insurance Marketplace), make sure that you report life changes your Health Insurance Marketplace. These changes include moving to a different state, as well as your income or family size. Reporting changes will help you get the proper amount and type of financial assistance so you can avoid getting too little or too much in advance.

More Information on Job Taxes and Deductions



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