Are Moving Expenses Tax Deductible?

Updated on January 5, 2024

At a Glance

  • The tax deduction for moving expenses is suspended for non-military taxpayers from 2018-2025
  • Active-duty military members may be eligible to deduct moving expenses
  • Military members must not be reimbursed for the moving expenses to claim the deduction
  • State-level deductions or credits for moving expenses may still be available

For those who have recently moved or are considering a move, whether for a job, personal reasons, or military orders, understanding the tax implications is critical. You may be wondering: “Are moving expenses tax deductible?” The answer has changed in recent years due to tax law reforms. Here’s what you need to know about the current rules governing the deduction of moving expenses.

IRS Rules for Deducting Moving Expenses

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 significantly altered the deductibility of moving expenses for most taxpayers. From 2018 through 2025, the deduction of moving expenses is suspended for non-military taxpayers. However, there is an exception for active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Active-Duty Military Moving Expenses

If you are an active-duty military member and moving due to a permanent change of station, you may be eligible to deduct moving expenses. These can include:

  • The cost of moving household goods and personal effects
  • Travel expenses to the new home, excluding meals

To claim this deduction, active-duty military members must not be reimbursed for these moving expenses. For more detailed information, refer to the IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide.

Former Deduction Rules Pre-TCJA

Before the TCJA, moving expenses could be deducted if the move was closely related to the start of work at a new job location and if you passed the time and distance tests set by the IRS. Due to the suspension of this deduction for non-military taxpayers, these tests currently do not apply.

Claiming Moving Expenses for Eligible Military Members

Eligible military members can claim this deduction by filling out IRS Form 3903, Moving Expenses, and including it with their federal tax return. It’s important to keep good records, such as receipts and travel logs, to substantiate the expenses claimed.

Other Considerations

While the federal tax deduction for moving expenses is largely suspended, there may be state-level deductions or credits available, depending on where you reside. It’s worth checking the tax laws for your specific state to see if any state tax benefits apply to moving expenses.

Final Thoughts

The once-broadly available tax deduction for moving expenses has been limited to only active-duty military members through at least 2025. Unless future tax legislation reintroduces this deduction for a broader scope of taxpayers, the majority of individuals cannot currently deduct their moving expenses on their federal tax returns.

Understanding the present tax laws around moving expenses can help you budget appropriately for a move. Active-duty military members should take advantage of this valuable deduction where applicable, while civilian taxpayers should plan their finances without expecting federal tax relief for their moving costs.

For the latest updates and guidance on moving expense deductions and other tax matters, always refer to the IRS website or consult with a tax professional. Additional resources for military personnel can be found through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Moving and Housing assistance page, which provides support for relocation and housing matters specific to service members.

Staying informed about the ever-evolving tax landscape is essential, especially when it comes to significant financial events like moving. Always check for the most current information before making any tax-related decisions related to moving or any other major financial changes.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are moving expenses tax deductible for non-military taxpayers?

No, the tax deduction for moving expenses is suspended for non-military taxpayers from 2018-2025.

Can active-duty military members deduct their moving expenses?

Yes, active-duty military members may be eligible to deduct moving expenses if they are not reimbursed for them.

What expenses can be deducted for active-duty military members?

Active-duty military members can deduct the cost of moving household goods and personal effects, as well as travel expenses to the new home (excluding meals).

Are there any tests or criteria for active-duty military members to claim the deduction?

Active-duty military members must not be reimbursed for the moving expenses to claim the deduction.

What if I moved before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was passed?

If you moved before the TCJA was passed, you may have been able to deduct moving expenses if the move was closely related to starting work at a new job location and if you met the time and distance tests set by the IRS. However, these tests currently do not apply for non-military taxpayers.

How can eligible military members claim the deduction?

Eligible military members can claim the deduction by filling out IRS Form 3903, Moving Expenses, and including it with their federal tax return.

Are there any state-level deductions or credits available for moving expenses?

There may be state-level deductions or credits available for moving expenses, depending on where you reside. Check the tax laws of your specific state for more information.

Is the tax deduction for moving expenses expected to change in the future?

Unless future tax legislation reintroduces this deduction for a broader scope of taxpayers, the majority of individuals cannot currently deduct their moving expenses on their federal tax returns.

Where can I find more information about moving expense deductions?

For the latest updates and guidance on moving expense deductions and other tax matters, refer to the IRS website or consult with a tax professional.

Are there additional resources available for military personnel?

Yes, military personnel can find additional resources and support for relocation and housing matters through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Moving and Housing assistance page.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.