Whether you’re currently out of work or gainfully employed but want to seek other employment opportunities, if you decide to start looking for a new job this summer, the tax code can help. Here are five quick facts about deducting job hunting expenses.
- You Must Look for Work in the Same Field.
Your job hunting expenses are tax deductible only if they are in pursuit of employment in the same field that you now or last worked in. If you’re currently in construction, but are looking for another position in construction, your job search related expenses may be tax deductible. However, if you are looking for a career switch and you’re targeting welder positions, any expenses related to your job hunting will not be tax deductible.
- You Must Already Be Employed
The job search deduction is not available to those who have never worked before. Graduating students searching for their first jobs unfortunately cannot deduct their job hunting expenses, but once you start working you may be able to deduct job search costs when seeking employment in the same field.
- Nearly All Job Search Expenses May Be Tax Deductible
Just about every expense directly related to your job search is tax deductible. Such expenses could include payments to job placement agencies, costs to print resumes, costs to mail those resumes, and even in-town or out-of-town trips to your interviews. Make sure you save your receipts!
- The Job Search Expense Deduction is a Miscellaneous Itemized Deduction
You have to itemize your deductions to benefit from the job search expense deduction and this deduction is beneficial to the extent that your miscellaneous itemized deductions exceed 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). For example, if your AGI is $40,000 and you spend $1,000 on job search expenses, the truly deductible portion is $200 ($1,000 – ($40,000 x 2%) = $800). This is still worth it and can add up if you have other itemized tax deductions. Don’t worry about trying to calculate your job search deductions, TurboTax will do the math for you based on the expenses you enter.
- Even If You Fail, You Succeed.
You don’t actually have to land a new job to be able to deduct job search expenses. Merely trying to find a job in your current field may allow you to deduct all of your job search expenses, no matter the ultimate outcome.