Four Must-Know Facts for Deducting Job Expenses


Rented a car? Check. Do you have at least 30 resumes printed on expensive paper? Check. Purchased a new interview suit? Check. Dwindling bank account? Check.

In today's competitive job market, finding employment will take time, energy, patience, diligence, and oftentimes money. In fact, a survey of Connecticut-based job seekers found that 37 percent of survey participants spent $100 on their most recent job search. About 17 percent spent $101 ¿ $250 looking for work, and 11 percent spent more than $1,000 on their employment hunt.

However, the Internal Revenue Service wants to remind you that most of the costs associated with finding work are tax deductible, which can help out a cash-strapped, frustrated job seeker. Most job-search expenses can be "miscellaneous itemized tax deductions."

You can only make these deductions if you're looking for a job in your same field and at the same level as your last position. And sorry first-time job seekers, the IRS says that since this is your first time looking for work, your job-search expenses aren't deductible.

Here are four more facts you should know before deducting job expenses:

1.) You can deduct employment and outplacement agency fees you paid while looking for a job in your present career field.

2.) You can deduct the amount you spend preparing and mailing copies of your resume to employers in your career field.

3.) You can deduct travel expenses to look for a new job. This can include flying to and from an area to interview for a job, traveling by car for an interview (standard rate is .55 cents per mile), and the price of gas to fuel the car. However, you can only make this deduction if the trip is primarily to look for a new job. Sneaky Tip: Even if you can't deduct travel expenses, you can still deduct the costs of looking for new job while in that area.

4.) You can't deduct job search expenses if there's a substantial break between the end of your last job and the time you began looking for a new one. This may sound problematic for veterans who have just left the service, but's Taxes section has more information on the deductions you can take in lieu of job-search expenses.

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