Job search expenses

You can deduct certain costs when looking for a new job

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Q: The company I worked for recently relocated to another state. Instead of moving with them and maintaining my position, I opted to take my severance package. Over the past few months, I have exhausted time, energy and money in search of a new job. Can I deduct the expenses I incurred on my taxes this year? — Therese Salmon

A: B.E.: We asked Ed Slott, a CPA and owner of E. Slott and Co., an accounting firm in Rockville Centre, New York, about your situation.

You can’t deduct job search expenses if you are looking for employment in a new occupation or there was a substantial break between the end of your last job and your search for a new one. Addition-ally, you can’t deduct expenses if you are seeking employment for the first time. However, if your job hunt is in the same field, you can get a break on the following costs:

  • Employment and outplacement agency fees. Job search fees and expenses are deductible — even if the agency doesn’t find you a suitable job. Also, expenses for career counseling are deductible if they are incurred in your effort to find other employment in the same trade or business.
  • Your résumé. You can deduct the amounts that you spent on typing, printing and mailing copies of a résumé to prospective employers.
  • Travel and transportation expenses. If you take a trip primarily to look for a new job, you can deduct the expenses. The amount of time you spend on personal activity compared with the amount of time you spend in job-related interviews determines whether the trip is for personal or business reasons.