Searching for a job, whether it’s just for the summer or all year, is a challenge. It can also be expensive; depending on the services you hire to help speed up the process.
While headhunters will never charge you, there are other service providers that will. Sometimes you have to spend money on resume development and professional development in order to show that you are competitive and up to date in your field.
This time of year, it’s common to be looking for a summer job, whether it’s a part-time second job or a full-time job.
Are you looking for a summer job? If so, some of your expenses might be tax deductible, providing you a way to save money come tax time. Our tips are framed as searching for a “summer job” but they apply to any job search in any season.
Who Qualifies for a Job Search Tax Deduction?
Here are some of the requirements you need to meet to take the job search tax deduction:
- You must be looking for a summer job in the same career field as your most recent job.
- There hasn’t been a “substantial” break between when you were last employed and when you started looking for a job in the same profession.
- You have enough tax deductions to itemize your deductions (TurboTax will figure this out for you).
What Summer Job Search Expenses Can Be Deducted?
As you look for your summer job, you might find that you are spending more money than you thought on your efforts. You can deduct the costs of printing out resumes, as well as the cost of having a professional help you develop your resume.
Career coaching and career seminars might also be eligible for a tax deduction. If you sign up for an employment agency and you are charged outplacement fees, you may also be able to deduct these costs as well.
You can deduct costs related to travel — as long as your travel is designed specifically to help you find a job in the same career field you already work in. So if your summer job search takes you across the country for interviews, you may be able to deduct your out of pocket travel costs directly related to your job search.
Lastly, you can deduct your job search expenses if your miscellaneous expenses exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income (Adjusted gross income is your gross income minus adjustments) when you itemize your deductions.
So if your AGI is $30,000, 2% of that is $600, so you would be able to claim your expenses over $600. If you had $1,000 in unreimbursed job search expenses, you may be able to claim $400 of those expenses.
What Summer Job Search Expenses You Can’t Deduct
If you’re searching for a job for the first time, you can’t deduct those expenses (you would not have a “similar career field” to be moving from, which is a requirement). If you are changing careers (say going from working retail at the mall to analyst at a financial services company), those job search expenses are not deductible.
If a prospective employer reimburses you for costs you incurred, you can’t deduct those expenses. For example, if a paid for your flight to attend an interview and the company reimbursed you, you would not be able to claim that expense.
As is the case with any deduction, make sure that you keep good records of all of your expenses. Save your receipts, and be sure to write down what you did, and how the expenditure contributed to your job hunt.
Looking for a job during the summer can start to get costly — especially if you are in a competitive field and you need to make use of career resources to gain an edge. Keep track of everything you spend. TurboTax will do all the calculations and help you determine if you are eligible to deduct your summer job search expenses so you can save money on your taxes.