Job hunting can be a very stressful endeavor. Not only is looking for a new job a time full of uncertainties and unknowns, it can also be a time when money is tight. Job hunting isn’t as cheap as it used to be, and you can quickly rack up expenses searching for a new job in 2019. The good news is, though, that there are ways to reduce the costs of job hunting by taking advantage of IRS tax laws regarding job hunting expenses.
How to Deduct Job Hunting Expenses
Most people do not realize that expenses incurred when you are searching for a new job can be tax-deductible. However, there are a few qualifications that the IRS requires you to meet before you are able to deduct your job hunting expenses. These qualifications are as follows:
- You cannot be searching for work in a new occupation.
- You cannot be looking for work for the first time.
- You cannot have had a “substantial break“ between your previous employment and the start of your job search.
Since the IRS does not provide exact clarification about what constitutes a “substantial break“, it’s best to use common sense and err on the side of caution when it comes to this qualification. With that said, if you meet these three qualifications, you are allowed to deduct all of your job hunting expenses from your income, including transportation and travel, a portion of your phone bill that is based on how many calls you make that are related to your search, material costs such as paper and postage, all career coaching and other services related to your search, and more.
These expenses can quickly add up, meaning that being able to deduct them from your income can offer a substantial break when tax season comes around. If you happen to still be unemployed when it comes time to pay taxes, these deductions may end up being a crucial financial relief for you and your family.
Check with your accountant to make sure you follow the latest tax laws and get the full benefit of your deductions, but don’t ignore the potential for substantial savings in these categories!