How do I...satisfy the moving expense deduction criteria of start of work, distance and time?

In certain cases, moving expenses may be tax deductible by individuals. Three key criteria must be satisfied: the move must closely-related to the start of work; a distance test must be satisfied and a time test also must be met.

Closely-related to the start of work

The move must be closely-related to the start of work at a new location. Moving for non-work related reasons is not relevant. The closely-related requirement encompasses both a time threshold and a place threshold. The IRS has explained that closely-related in time generally means an individual can consider moving expenses incurred within one year from the date he or she first reported to work at the new location as closely related in time to the start of work. Closely-related in place generally means that the distance from the individual's new home to the new job location is not more than the distance from his or her former home to the new job location.


An individual's move satisfies the distance test if his or her new main location is at least 50 miles farther from his or her former home than the old main job location was from the former home. Note that the distance test takes into account only the location of the individual's former home. An individual's main job location is the location where he or she spends most of his or her working hours. Individuals may have more than one job. In that case, the IRS has explained that an individual's main job location depends on the facts in each case. Among the factors to take into account are the total time the individual spends at each place; the amount of work performed at each place and the amount of wages earned at each place. If an individual previously had no employment, or had experienced a period of unemployment, the new job location must be at least 50 miles from the individual's old home.


Time for purposes of the moving deduction looks at an individual's hours of work and where that work is performed. An individual who is a wage earner (employed by another) must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months immediately following his or her arrival in the general area of the new job location. Self-employed individuals must 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 immediately following their arrival in the general area of the new work location.

Special rules apply to members of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as employees who are seasonal workers, individuals who have temporary absences from work, and others.

If you have any questions about the moving deduction, please contact our office.

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