5 Job Hunting Expenses That Are Tax Deductible

5 Job Hunting Expenses That Are Tax Deductible

by Kerry Scott on 2 February 2009

  1. Employment agency or outplacement firm fees—Really, though, is this the best use of your limited funds?  In most cases, it isn’t.  You probably don’t need to be paying someone to help you find a job.  If you insist, though, you can at least deduct the expense.
  2. Printing and mailing resumes—I am not sure who you’re mailing them to, because I haven’t seen a paper resume since Bill Clinton was president.  If you’re this old-school, though, I guess you should at least get your deduction.
  3. Telephone calls—If you have these, though, you should consider getting an unlimited calling plan.  You can get these on landlines, not just cell phones.  They are SO much cheaper than the old way of paying by the minute, especially for daytime calls (and most job hunting calls are going to be during the day).  If you’re job hunting outside of your normal calling area, it’s probably going to be worth it.  You can always cancel it after you get a job.
  4. Mileage for getting to and from interview—The rate varies depending on the month in which you traveled, because they upped the rate halfway through the year (back when we were paying $4.29/gallon for gas).  But if you drove around town for various interviews, it’s worth adding it up.
  5. Travel expenses—If you flew someplace for a job interview, that airfare, your lodging, and your meals are deductible.  Cool.

Some important notes:  these rules apply only if you’re looking for a job in your same line of work.  If you’re an HR-executive-turned-blogger, like me, that probably doesn’t qualify.  Also, if you’re looking for your first job, you’re out of luck as well (which sucks, but that’s the IRS for you).  All of these expenses count as miscellaneous itemized deductions, and your total for those has to be 2% or more of your adjusted gross income (AGI).  Also, if there’s been a “substantial break” between your last job and your job search, that won’t work (I’m not sure how long a “substantial break” is, but if you have seen every episode of Dr. Phil this season, that probably counts).   The good news is that if you otherwise qualify to use these deductions, you get them even if you didn’t get the job.

Disclaimer:  I am not a tax professional.  In fact, I am not even particularly good at math.  I cut math class in high school to go to Taco Bell, like, a LOT, and as a result, I am completely dependent on TurboTax for my tax advice.  You should get YOUR tax advice from a qualified professional, not from me.   This is just to tell you that this stuff is out there, so you can ask someone who really knows what they’re talking about.  If you don’t, and you end up in trouble and/or nominated for a cabinet post, please don’t sue me.  Thanks.


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{ 3 comments }

Ginny Marie February 2, 2009 at 9:53 am

I love your disclaimer almost as much as I love TurboTax. OK, I love your disclaimer more! Great list!

Ginny Marie’s last blog post..Flood

Carla February 2, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Great list! Something for me to save to delicious for when I start job hunting when I relocate this year.

Carla’s last blog post..I am not drunk…

Jay Philips February 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm

I agree with Ginny, great disclaimer.

Jay Philips’s last blog post..

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