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It is important to maintain an accurate record of expenses you paid to move. You should save items such as receipts, bills, cancelled checks, credit card statements, and mileage logs. Also, you should save your Form W-2 and statements of reimbursement from your employer.
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Different rules may apply if you are a member of the Armed Forces or a retiree or survivor moving to the United States. These rules are discussed later in this publication.
Your move must be closely related, both in time and in place, to the start of work at your new job location.
You can generally consider moving expenses incurred within 1 year from the date you first reported to work at the new location as closely related in time to the start of work. It is not necessary that you arrange to work before moving to a new location, as long as you actually go to work in that location.
If you do not move within 1 year of the date you begin work, you ordinarily cannot deduct the expenses unless you can show that circumstances existed that prevented the move within that time.
Your family moved more than a year after you started work at a new location. You delayed the move for 18 months to allow your child to complete high school. You can deduct your moving expenses.
You can generally consider your move closely related in place to the start of work if the distance from your new home to the new job location is not more than the distance from your former home to the new job location. If your move does not meet this requirement, you may still be able to deduct moving expenses if you can show that:
- You are required to live at your new home as a condition of your employment, or
- You will spend less time or money commuting from your new home to your new job location.
Your home means your main home (residence). It can be a house, apartment, condominium, houseboat, house trailer, or similar dwelling. It does not include other homes owned or kept up by you or members of your family. It also does not include a seasonal home, such as a summer beach cottage. Your former home means your home before you left for your new job location. Your new home means your home within the area of your new job location. taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203453
You may be able to deduct the expenses of moving to the United States or its possessions even though the move is not related to the start of work at a new job location. You must have worked outside the United States or be a survivor of someone who did. See Retirees or Survivors Who Move to the United States,
Your move will meet the distance test if your new main job location is at least 50 miles farther from your former home than your old main job location was from your former home. For example, if your old main job location was 3 miles from your former home, your new main job location must be at least 53 miles from that former home. You can use Worksheet 1 to see if you meet this test.
The distance between a job location and your home is the shortest of the more commonly traveled routes between them. The distance test considers only the location of your former home. It does not take into account the location of your new home. See Figure A
Worksheet 1. Distance Test
| ||Note. Members of the Armed Forces may not have to meet this test. See Members of the Armed Forces. || || |
|1.||Enter the number of miles from your old home to your new workplace||1.|| miles |
|2.||Enter the number of miles from your old home to your old workplace||2.|| miles |
|3.||Subtract line 2 from line 1. If zero or less, enter -0-||3.|| miles |
|4.||Is line 3 at least 50 miles?|
□ Yes. You meet this test.
□ No. You do not meet this test. You cannot deduct your moving expenses.
You moved to a new home less than 50 miles from your former home because you changed main job locations. Your old main job location was 3 miles from your former home. Your new main job location is 60 miles from that home. Because your new main job location is 57 miles farther from your former home than the distance from your former home to your old main job location, you meet the distance test.taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203457
If you go to work full time for the first time, your place of work must be at least 50 miles from your former home to meet the distance test.
If you go back to full-time work after a substantial period of part-time work or unemployment, your place of work also must be at least 50 miles from your former home. taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203458
If you are in the Armed Forces and you moved because of a permanent change of station, you do not have to meet the distance test. See Members of the Armed Forces,
Your main job location is usually the place where you spend most of your working time. This could be your office, plant, store, shop, or other location. If there is no one place where you spend most of your working time, your main job location is the place where your work is centered, such as where you report for work or are otherwise required to "base" your work.taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203460
If you work for several employers on a short-term basis and you get work under a union hall system (such as a construction or building trades worker), your main job location is the union hall. taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203461
If you have more than one job at any time, your main job location depends on the facts in each case. The more important factors to be considered are:
- The total time you spend at each place,
- The amount of work you do at each place, and
- How much money you earn at each place.
To deduct your moving expenses, you also must meet one of the following two time tests.
- The time test for employees.
- The time test for self-employed persons.
Both of these tests are explained below. See Table 1
, below, for a summary of these tests.
You can deduct your moving expenses before you meet either of the time tests. See Time Test Not Yet Met,
If you are an employee, you must work full time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months after you arrive in the general area of your new job location (39-week test). Full-time employment depends on what is usual for your type of work in your area.
For purposes of this test, the following four rules apply.
- You count only your full-time work as an employee, not any work you do as a self-employed person.
- You do not have to work for the same employer for all 39 weeks.
- You do not have to work 39 weeks in a row.
- You must work full time within the same general commuting area for all 39 weeks.
You are considered to have worked full time during any week you are temporarily absent from work because of illness, strikes, lockouts, layoffs, natural disasters, or similar causes. You are also considered to have worked full time during any week you are absent from work for leave or vacation provided for in your work contract or agreement. taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203465
If your work is seasonal, you are considered to be working full time during the off-season only if your work contract or agreement covers an off-season period of less than 6 months. For example, a school teacher on a 12-month contract who teaches on a full-time basis for more than 6 months is considered to have worked full time for the entire 12 months.
If you are self-employed, you 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 after you arrive in the general area of your new job location (78-week test).
For purposes of the time test for self-employed persons, the following three rules apply.
- You count any full-time work you do either as an employee or as a self-employed person.
- You do not have to work for the same employer or be self-employed in the same trade or business for the 78 weeks.
- You must work within the same general commuting area for all 78 weeks.
You are self-employed if you work as the sole owner of an unincorporated business or as a partner in a partnership carrying on a business. You are not considered self-employed if you are semi-retired, are a part-time student, or work only a few hours each week. taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203470
You can count only those weeks during which you work full time as a week of work. Whether you work full time during any week depends on what is usual for your type of work in your area. For example, you are a self-employed dentist and maintain office hours 4 days a week. You are considered to perform services full time if maintaining office hours 4 days a week is not unusual for other self-employed dentists in your area.
|Table 1. Satisfying the Time Test for Employees and Self-Employed Persons |
| IF you are... || THEN you satisfy the time test by meeting the... |
|an employee|| 39-week test for employees. |
|self-employed|| 78-week test for self-employed persons. |
|both self-employed and an employee at the same time|| 78-week test for a self-employed person or the 39-week |
test for an employee. Your principal place of work
determines which test applies.
|both self-employed and an employee, but unable to satisfy the 39-week test for employees|| 78-week test for self-employed persons. |
You are considered to be self-employed on a full-time basis during any week you are temporarily absent from work because of illness, strikes, natural disasters, or similar causes. taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203475
If your trade or business is seasonal, the off-season weeks when no work is required or available may be counted as weeks during which you worked full time. The off-season must be less than 6 months and you must work full time before and after the off-season. taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203476
You own and operate a motel at a beach resort. The motel is closed for 5 months during the off-season. You work full time as the operator of the motel before and after the off-season. You are considered self-employed on a full-time basis during the weeks of the off-season.
If you were both an employee and self-employed, see Table 1, earlier, for the requirements.taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203477
Justin quit his job and moved from the east coast to the west coast to begin a full-time job as a cabinet-maker for C and L Cabinet Shop. He generally worked at the shop about 40 hours each week. Shortly after the move, Justin also began operating a cabinet-installation business from his home for several hours each afternoon and all day on weekends. Because Justin's principal place of business is the cabinet shop, he can satisfy the time test by meeting the 39-week test.
If Justin is unable to satisfy the requirements of the 39-week test during the 12-month period immediately following his arrival in the general location of his new principal place of work, he can satisfy the 78-week test. taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203478
If you are married, file a joint return, and both you and your spouse work full-time, either of you can satisfy the full-time work test. However, you cannot add the weeks your spouse worked to the weeks you worked to satisfy that test. taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203479
You can deduct your moving expenses on your 2009 tax return even though you have not met the time test by the date your 2009 return is due. You can do this if you expect to meet the 39-week test in 2010 or the 78-week test in 2010 or 2011.
If you do not deduct your moving expenses on your 2009 return, and you later meet the time test, you can file an amended return for 2009 to take the deduction. taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203480
If you deduct moving expenses but do not meet the time test in 2010 or 2011, you must either:
- Report your moving expense deduction as other income on your Form 1040 for the year you cannot meet the test, or
- Use Form 1040X to amend your 2009 return, figuring your tax without the moving expense deduction.
You arrive in the general area of your new job location, as an employee, on September 15, 2009. You deduct your moving expenses on your 2009 return, the year of the move, even though you have not yet met the time test by the date your return is due. If you do not meet the 39-week test during the 12-month period following your arrival in the general area of your new job location, you must either:
- Report your moving expense deduction as other income on your Form 1040 for 2010, or
- Use Form 1040X to amend your 2009 return, figuring your tax without the moving expense deduction.
You do not have to meet the time test if one of the following applies.
- You are in the Armed Forces and you moved because of a permanent change of station. See Members of the Armed Forces, later.
- Your main job location was outside the United States and you moved to the United States because you retired. See Retirees or Survivors Who Move to the United States, later.
- You are the survivor of a person whose main job location at the time of death was outside the United States. See Retirees or Survivors Who Move to the United States, later.
- Your job at the new location ends because of death or disability.
- You are transferred for your employer's benefit or laid off for a reason other than willful misconduct. For this exception, you must have obtained full-time employment and you must have expected to meet the test at the time you started the job.
If you are a retiree who was working abroad or a survivor of a decedent who was working abroad and you move to the United States or one of its possessions, you do not have to meet the time test, discussed earlier. However, you must meet the requirements discussed below under Retirees who were working abroad or Survivors of decedents who were working abroad.
If you are living in the United States, retire, and then move and remain retired, you cannot claim a moving expense deduction for that move.
For this section of this publication, the term "United States" includes the possessions of the United States.taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203486
You can deduct moving expenses for a move to a new home in the United States when you permanently retire. However, both your former main job location and your former home must have been outside the United States. taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203487
You are considered permanently retired when you cease gainful full-time employment or self-employment. If, at the time you retire, you intend your retirement to be permanent, you will be considered retired even though you later return to work. Your intention to retire permanently may be determined by:
- Your age and health,
- The customary retirement age for people who do similar work,
- Whether you receive retirement payments from a pension or retirement fund, and
- The length of time before you return to full-time work.
Qualified deductible moving expenses are allowed on a final return (Form 1040 or 1040NR) when a taxpayer has moved and dies within the same calendar year. The personal representative filing on behalf of that taxpayer should complete and attach Form 3903 to the final return.
A personal representative can be an executor, administrator, or anyone who is in charge of the deceased person's property. For more information, see Pub. 559, Survivors, Executors, and Administrators.taxmap/pubs/p521-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203489
If you are the spouse or the dependent of a person whose main job location at the time of death was outside the United States, you can deduct moving expenses if the following five requirements are met.
- The move is to a home in the United States.
- The move begins within 6 months after the decedent's death. (When a move begins is described below.)
- The move is from the decedent's former home.
- The decedent's former home was outside the United States.
- The decedent's former home was also your home.
A move begins when one of the following events occurs.
- You contract for your household goods and personal effects to be moved to your home in the United States, but only if the move is completed within a reasonable time.
- Your household goods and personal effects are packed and on the way to your home in the United States.
- You leave your former home to travel to your new home in the United States.