If You Itemize Deductions you are allowed to deduct job search costs. If
you use the standard deduction, this may or may not help you. The current
standard deduction is $5,950 for single filers, twice as much for couples.
Until your total deductions exceed this, you get no help. There's also a
"floor" to contend with - only those work-related costs exceeding 2% of
your gross income give you any help. Once you exceed these limits, you
can't afford to miss any of the costs. Any "forgotten" deductions are money
down the drain.
Same Occupation Requirement. I wish I could say Tax Law looks at
you as a person. Unfortunately, it views you as a producer within the
economy, something like a machine. Keeping that machine running is tax
deductible. As long as your search is within the same general occupation, all
costs count. A teacher can deduct costs to look for work in the field of
education, but not to get a job as a welder.
Types of Costs. Almost anything related to the search counts. Agency
fees, costs to produce a resume, duplicating employment files, even a couple
months' of your on-line fees if you use the computer in your search. Look
for copy costs, postage, and office supplies. Be alert for any magazines,
books, or newspapers you bought to help in your search. Costs to acquire
work history records or school transcripts cannot be ignored.
Travel vs. Transport. You need to go to various places. Going to pick up
materials, confer with others, or for job interviews leads to deductions.
Transport refers to getting around within your metropolitan area. For
most of us, that's driving. In 2012, you may deduct 55.Se for each mile you
drive for business purposes. Keep a log of interviews, meetings, trips for
copying - it really adds up. If you don't drive, costs for bus, taxi, or what you pay a friend to help with your transport is deductible. In addition to the
transport, you may deduct costs for parking or tolls along the way.
Travel involves being away from home overnight or longer. Now, you
may deduct all expenses - mileage or fares, shuttles, rental cars, taxis, hotels,
meals - any out-of-town costs. For meals, there are allowances - probably
easier than keeping records. I just need to know dates and locations of your
Be alert for anything connected to your search. Even buying lunch for a
friend who can provide a contact or special introduction may be appropriate.
I hope you find the right job quickly and easily. But, if you keep track of
your costs and activities from the beginning, I will see to it that you save every
tax dollar the law allows. Call The San Diego Pro now at 888-690-9245.