Job Hunting Tax Deductions for 2010

//Job Hunting Tax Deductions for 2010

Job Hunting Tax Deductions for 2010

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)

As for those items job hunters usually AREN’T able to deduct?

•  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!

By | 2016-10-20T17:37:56+00:00 April 13th, 2011|Miscellaneous|6 Comments

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6 Comments

  1. Debbie Moses April 14, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    After doing some research in the area of tax deductions for job searching, I found the IRS rules to be somewhat archaic. I learned that you can only claim deductions if you are looking in your current field, not to move to a different field. Wow !.. in this economy no less…. Also, the regulations appear to be silent on whether one can deduct expenses associated with the one job search strategy that seekers are encouraged to pursue over all others –networking. I spent a considerable amount in gas, parking, lunches and coffees to do my job search networking in 2010 and nowhere could I find an acknowledgement by the IRS of this being or not being deductible — it feels like they do not realize networking even exists.

    • Matt Youngquist, Career Horizons April 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      Debbie: Great point. I’m not surprised to learn that the IRS regulations are a bit “behind the times” in terms of their explanation of whether some of the more modern job hunting activities, like networking, are fully deductible. I would imagine that the majority of job seekers actually DO deduct these expenses, but I’m not sure if this is officially allowable or not. Anybody else out there have an official opinion on the matter?

  2. Debbie Moses April 14, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    After doing some research in the area of tax deductions for job searching, I found the IRS rules to be somewhat archaic. I learned that you can only claim deductions if you are looking in your current field, not to move to a different field. Wow !.. in this economy no less…. Also, the regulations appear to be silent on whether one can deduct expenses associated with the one job search strategy that seekers are encouraged to pursue over all others –networking. I spent a considerable amount in gas, parking, lunches and coffees to do my job search networking in 2010 and nowhere could I find an acknowledgement by the IRS of this being or not being deductible — it feels like they do not realize networking even exists.

    • Matt Youngquist, Career Horizons April 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      Debbie: Great point. I’m not surprised to learn that the IRS regulations are a bit “behind the times” in terms of their explanation of whether some of the more modern job hunting activities, like networking, are fully deductible. I would imagine that the majority of job seekers actually DO deduct these expenses, but I’m not sure if this is officially allowable or not. Anybody else out there have an official opinion on the matter?

  3. Devon Shane April 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks for this! It never even occurred to me to deduct job search expenses. I wish I head read this last week ;)

  4. Devon Shane April 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks for this! It never even occurred to me to deduct job search expenses. I wish I head read this last week ;)

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