While perhaps not the most enjoyable subject to bring up, April 15th is bearing down on us like a freight train — so for any of you job hunters out there engaged in some frenzied last-minute tax preparation, I wanted to make sure you were fully aware of the various deductions you might be able to claim related to your job search!
Before doing so, however, let me first officially cover my butt by pointing out that I’m NOT a qualified tax expert and that the advice I’m sharing here in this posting is mainly just hearsay, based on what I’ve been able to glean from other sources out there on this matter. So if you have any specific questions or need exact clarification on any of these points, you’ll need to check with your own accountant or the IRS to get a more “official” ruling than I can give you.
This being said, the common job search deductions that individuals can usually claim include:
• Employee agency, career counseling, and outplacement agency fees
• Resume-writing, printing, and mailing/distribution costs
• Business card or calling card printing fees
• Newspapers and trade publications you purchase for the purpose of reading help-wanted ads (archaic, I know, but it’s allowed!)
• Travel expenses (if they can be tied directly to job search activities)
• Long-distance charges (again, if tied directly to job searching)
• Auto mileage driving to/from interviews and other legitimate job hunting activities (you can deduct 50 cents per mile in 2010)
• Education and professional development classes (research this one carefully and review the American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit guidelines to see if they might apply to you, as well)
• Haircuts, makeovers & beauty treatments
• Gym & club memberships
• New clothes (no matter how old your suit might be!)
• Internet access charges
• Cell phone & mobile device subscription fees
Again, these are just the general guidelines, and you’ll find much more detail about allowable job hunting deductions if you scroll down to the “Job Search Expenses” section of IRS Publication 529, which you’ll find here. Additionally, the Seattle Times recently put out another very handy collection of links you’ll find here that illustrate some handy tax tips for those going through career transition.
At the end of the day, every little bit helps, right? Happy filing!