Moving Expenses in U.S. + Abroad: What can I deduct on my taxes?


Within the United States:

If you relocated to take a new job, you can — and should — deduct your expenses, if you pass these two IRS tests:

  • Your new job must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your previous job was. If you didn’t have a previous job, your new one must be at least 50 miles from your old home.
  • If you’re an employee, you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the 12 months after you arrive in the general area of your new job. If you’re self-employed, you have to work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months and 78 weeks during the first 24 months.

The good news? Fuel, moving truck and accommodations – even pet shipping costs – while on the road can typically be deducted, but food and personal expenses cannot. Moving deductions can only be claimed one time per tax year.


Expats: Claiming moving expenses for international work

In order to qualify for deductions related to international moving expenses, Americans must meet these requirements:

  • Move must be related to a job;
  • Move must be 50+ miles away (easily qualification for moving abroad); and
  • Employees must work FT for the first 39 weeks of their arrival for the first 12 months; Self-Employed Expats must work at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months of arrival.


More information

This blog does a great job of explaining the basic process of moving deductions for expats.

The IRS has more information here on tax-related questions commonly asked by taxpayers living abroad.  Don’t forget to see if you qualify for the Foreign Earned Income and Housing: Exclusion – Deduction.

Taxes are never fun, but a little preparation can save big headaches down the road. (Here comes the disclaimer: Always double-check the particulars with the IRS or your favorite tax professional). Good luck!


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