When Can Taxpayers Deduct Moving Expenses Using a Form 3903?

Moving isn't easy – nor is it inexpensive. In past years, U.S. taxpayers who moved for a job in a different location could deduct some of their moving expenses. Unfortunately, that deduction was eliminated for most taxpayers as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The deduction still remains available to some members of the Armed Forces and, in certain situations, their spouses and dependents. If the taxpayer is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and they were required to move as the result of a change to the station in which they were permanently assigned, they may still be able to deduct some of the relocation expenses that are incurred.

Active-duty members of the Armed Forces can claim the moving expense deduction for moves due to a military order for a permanent change of station. This includes location changes that require you to move:

  • To your first post of active duty from your home
  • To a new permanent post of duty from your previous permanent post of duty
  • To your home or to a nearer point in the United States from your last post of duty (In this case, the move must occur within one year of the date your active duty ended or within the period allowed under the Joint Travel Regulations.)

Spouses and dependents of a member of the Armed Forces who deserts, is imprisoned or dies can claim the moving expense deduction for a move that is considered a permanent change of station for you. This includes relocations in which you move to:

  • The member's place of enlistment or induction
  • Your home of record OR the member's home of record
  • A nearer point in the United States

Other taxpayers are only able to claim the deduction for moving expenses on returns for tax years prior to 2018.

If you think you may qualify to deduct moving expenses, you can use an interactive tool provided by the IRS to find out: Can I Deduct My Moving Expenses?

If you are eligible, you can claim the deduction for moving expenses by completing the proper form - Form 3903 and submitting it with your tax return. The Instructions include detailed information to help you figure out which expenses are deductible, how to complete the form and how to claim the moving expense deduction if you are also filing Form 2555, Foreign Earned Income.


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