When are job search expenses tax-deductible?

The IRS  wants you to know how to deduct costs related to your job search. You can deduct certain expenses you have in looking for a new job in your present occupation, even if you don’t get a new job. Remember to keep records!

Expenses you can deduct:

  • Money spent on a job search in your current occupation.
  • Employment and outplacement agency fees paid while looking for a job. (If your employer later pays you back, you must include this amount in your gross income.)
  • Amounts spent for preparing and mailing your résumé to prospective employers.
  • Travel expenses to look for a new job, when that is the trip’s primary purpose.

Job search expenses you cannot deduct:

  • Money spent looking for a job in a new occupation.
  • Expenditures when searching for a first job.
  • Expenditures incurred when looking after an extended break from work in the same occupation.

The amount of job search expenses that you can claim is limited. To determine your deduction, use Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, Miscellaneous Deductions.

For more information about job search expenses, see IRS Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions.

Thanks to the IRS for providing this information!