DEFINITION of 'Job Hunting Expenses'

Job hunting expenses are expenses incurred while seeking employment. The IRS allows people looking for work in their same line of business to deduct portions of their job hunt on taxes so, which should help lessen the blow of losing a job. Unfortunately, no tax breaks exist if it’s your first time looking for a job.

BREAKING DOWN 'Job Hunting Expenses'

Job hunting expenses are not deductible when searching for your first job after completing school, when searching for a job in a new line of work or when there has been a substantial break in your employment. Also, they fall into the miscellaneous itemized deductions category, meaning that they can only be deducted to the extent that job hunting expenses plus other miscellaneous expenses exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.

Like any deductions, you’ll need to keep accurate receipts and timelines to take advantage of potential breaks. When you do lose a job, it’s important that you begin to seek work promptly or the IRS may deny the exemptions.

Here are examples of job hunting expenses that qualify for deductions:

  • If you hired someone to help prepare your resume, paid postage to send it snail mail or faxed it, those costs are deductible.
  • If you speak on the phone to an HR representative or have a job interview, that, too, is deductible whether you get the job or not.
  • As long as an employer doesn’t reimburse you for using the services of an agency, you can deduct the cost.
  • Finally, all the miles you drive to go on interviews is deductible. The standard mileage rate changes year-to-year so check with the IRS for the most current information.
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