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Job Search Expenses Can be Tax Deductible

If you are looking for a new job that is in the same line of work, you may be able to deduct some of your job hunting expenses on your federal income tax return.

Here are seven things about deducting costs related to your job search:

  1. To qualify for a deduction, your expenses must be spent on a job search in your current occupation. You may not deduct expenses you incur while looking for a job in a new occupation.
  2. You can deduct employment and outplacement agency fees you pay while looking for a job in your present occupation. If your employer pays you back in a later year for employment agency fees, you must include the amount you received in your gross income, up to the amount of your tax benefit in the earlier year.
  3. You can deduct amounts you spend for preparing and mailing copies of your résumé to prospective employers as long as you are looking for a new job in your present occupation.
  4. If you travel to look for a new job in your present occupation, you may be able to deduct travel expenses to and from the area to which you travelled. You can only deduct the travel expenses if the trip is primarily to look for a new job. The amount of time you spend on personal activity unrelated to your job search compared to the amount of time you spend looking for work is important in determining whether the trip is primarily personal or is primarily to look for a new job.
  5. You cannot deduct your job search expenses if there was a substantial break between the end of your last job and the time you begin looking for a new one.
  6. You cannot deduct job search expenses if you are looking for a job for the first time.
  7. In order to be deductible, the amount that you spend for job search expenses, combined with other miscellaneous expenses, must exceed a certain threshold. To determine your deduction, use Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Job search expenses are claimed as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. The amount of your miscellaneous deduction that exceeds two percent of your adjusted gross income is deductible.
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FAQ: Deductions | October 2012

Question: Can I deduct separate maintenance paid to my spouse or alimony paid to my former spouse?

Answer:

If you are separated or divorced, you may generally deduct payments of separate maintenance or alimony paid in cash (including check or money order payable on demand) to, or on behalf of, your spouse or former spouse.

 

Question: Am I eligible to claim both my job-related education expenses (minus 2% of AGI) and the Lifetime Learning Credit on my tax return?

Answer:

If you are eligible to deduct educational expenses and are also eligible for one of the education credits (the Lifetime Learning Credit or the American Opportunity Tax Credit), then it is possible to claim both. You cannot use the SAME educational expenses to claim both benefits (no “double benefit”).

  • You may choose to allocate some of your expenses to the deduction and others to the credit.
  • This can be desirable because a qualifying expense for one benefit may not be a qualifying expense for the other tax benefit. For example, the cost of course-related books ordinarily qualifies for the deduction, but not for the Lifetime Learning Credit. For tax years beginning in 2009 and 2010, course-related books may qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

 

 

Question: What types of work-related educational expenses are deductible?

Answer:

Deductible work-related educational expenses include:

  • Amounts spent for tuition, books, supplies, laboratory fees and similar items.
  • Transportation and travel expenses to attend qualified educational activities may also be deductible.

 

 

Question: Is interest on a home equity line of credit deductible as a second mortgage?

Answer:

You may deduct home equity debt interest, as an itemized deduction, if all the following conditions apply:

  • You are legally liable to pay the interest
  • You pay the interest in the tax year
  • The debt is secured with your home
  • The home equity debt is limited to the fair market value of the home reduced by home acquisition debt, up to a total of $100,000.
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Is Your Home Office a Tax Deduction?

Many individuals have home offices, but are unclear on whether or not they can claim these home offices as tax deductions. The IRS explicitly states that home offices can be deducted from your taxes. However, they are also very clear that this home office can only be used for work-related purposes. It must also be used regularly for work-related purposes (meaning it cannot be a spare room that you happen to do some work in now and then).

Is your home office suitable for an IRS deduction?

If so, then it is worth exploring how to claim the home office on your taxes. Self-employed individuals can do this when they file their tax return. If you are an employee of a business it is necessary in case of an audit to be able to prove that your home office is for the sole benefit of your employer.

Necessary Information When Claiming Home Office Deduction

There are a few necessary steps when claiming your home office. These steps include:

   - Providing the area of the room that is used exclusively for business.
   - Providing the total area of your home.
   - Calculating the percentage of your home which your home office takes up.

You will also need to have on hand your mortgage payment, household expenses, and other similar expenses.

Use Caution When Claiming a Home Office Deduction

You should absolutely claim any eligible home office deductions. Doing so can significantly lower your tax liabilities. Be sure to keep all receipts and other relevant information on hand just in case.

Call us with any questions about claiming your home office as a tax deduction. We’ll be happy to take a look at your situation and see what we can do save you more money.

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