Form 3903: Moving Expenses

What Is Form 3903: Moving Expenses?

Form 3903 is a tax form created by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax deductions related to moving expenses due to a new job.

Since tax year 2018, you can only deduct moving expenses if you are a member of the Armed Forces on active duty and, due to a military order, you move because of a permanent change of station. This is due to The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), which eliminated the moving expense deductions for most taxpayers. If you still qualify for this deduction you will use IRS Form 3903.

Key Takeaways

  • For tax years beginning after 2017, Form 3903 can only be used by members of the military.
  • Those with multiple job-related moves must fill out multiple forms.
  • A taxpayer’s new employment location must be at least 50 miles further than the distance between their home and their old employer.

Who Can File Form 3903: Moving Expenses?

For tax years prior to 2018, Form 3903 was used for each qualifying move a taxpayer made in a tax year, which meant those with multiple job-related moves were required to fill out multiple forms. The IRS allowed taxpayers to use this form to deduct other reasonable moving expenses, such as the cost of hiring professional movers or expenses related to traveling to their new home.

Qualifying expenses included:

  • The cost of boxes, tape, moving blankets, bubble wrap, and other packing necessities
  • Rental fees for moving trucks and storage units
  • Travel costs, including plane fare, gas or mileage, and hotel costs
  • The costs of moving other family members in a separate vehicle

Even for tax years prior to 2018, you were only able to file Form 3903 if you met certain requirements. First, your new job had to be at least 50 miles further than the distance between your previous home and your old job. So if your previous job was 14 miles away from your former home, your new job had to be 64 miles away from your previous home. Members of the United States military, however, can claim their moving expenses regardless of the distance or employment requirements if they are making a permanent change in their military status such as retirement or termination of service.

Another requirement for non-military taxpayers filing for tax years prior to 2018: you had to move around the same time as you start your new job. The time test qualification required filers to work at the new location for at least 39 weeks out of the 12 months following the move. If you didn't rack up 39 weeks at the new job before the filing deadline, you were still able to file Form 3903 if you expected to pass the time test in your first year of employment.

Self-employed individuals were also able to file Form 3903, but their time test is more stringent. They were required to work at their new job for 39 weeks in the first year after the move, and 78 weeks by the end of the second year.

A qualifying time and distance test must be completed to determine if the costs of a move can be deducted.

How to File Form 3903: Moving Expenses

For tax years prior to 2018, you were required to complete a qualifying time and distance test to determine if you were able to deduct the costs of a move. Presently, Form 3903 is only available to active members of the US military. There are no qualifying distance or time requirements for members of the armed forces who utilize the deductions.

To determine if a taxpayer’s moving expenses qualify for the deduction, visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website or consult with an experienced tax professional.

Form 3903

Form 3903 is available on the IRS website.

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  1. Internal Revenue Service. "Law Change Affects Moving, Mileage and Travel Expenses."

  2. Internal Revenue Service. "Form 3903 Moving Expenses 2017."

  3. Internal Revenue Service. "Instructions for Form 3903 (2021)."

  4. Internal Revenue Service. "Form 3903."