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Moving Expense Deductions
Old 11-02-2011, 12:20 PM   #1
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Moving Expense Deductions

All,

When I "retired' from the Air Force earlier this year, I moved cross-country from California to Florida. The AF picked up the tab on some things but not others. I've scoured through the IRS website and think I have most of my questions answered but I wanted to get the board's opinion on what is/what is not deductable. Here's a quick rundown:
  • One-way flight (along with tips/fees): $0 (paid directly by AF)
  • Shipment of household goods: $0 (paid directly by AF)
  • On-base lodging in CA for 12 days: $468 ($39 a night/out of pocket)
  • Shipment of vehicle: $1107.77 (out of pocket)
  • Hotel in FL after arrival for 12 days: $527.24 ($43 a night/out of pocket)
  • Rental car in FL while awaiting vehicle delivery: $139.10 (out of pocket)
The reason for so many days in lodging on each side of the move was because in California, the company that shipped my car couldn't pick it up until 12 days after I moved out of my house. Plus, they didn't drop it off in Florida until 8 days after my arrival (which explains the rental car).

I'm positive I can deduct the entire amount of the car shipment but rental car costs and lodging rules are very vague in the IRS pub (they call them "reasonable expenses"). There is a statement that says, "You can include any lodging expenses you had in the area of your former home within one day after you could no longer live in your former home because your furniture had been moved", which I THINK might only allow me to deduct one night's stay on either end but I'm speculating.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. While in the AF, they always reimbursed me for the above expenses but now I'm at the mercy of the IRS

Thanks!

James
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:45 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by jimbohoward69 View Post
I'm positive I can deduct the entire amount of the car shipment but rental car costs and lodging rules are very vague in the IRS pub (they call them "reasonable expenses"). There is a statement that says, "You can include any lodging expenses you had in the area of your former home within one day after you could no longer live in your former home because your furniture had been moved", which I THINK might only allow me to deduct one night's stay on either end but I'm speculating.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. While in the AF, they always reimbursed me for the above expenses but now I'm at the mercy of the IRS
James, is the IRS pub you're referring to #521?
Publication 521 (2010), Moving Expenses

Another option (besides Pub 521) would be to run Turbotax for deductible moving expenses. They do a pretty good job of figuring out the military rules.

I'd say that you could deduct the entire number of days you were unable to live in your own home-- whether that's because you're on the road or because you have no furniture to live with. Of course you'd have to justify that it was "living" and not "vacationing". But I don't think the IRS would hassle a PCS move that was hung up by awaiting a car shipper.

I guess the flight was reimbursed by your travel claim? IIRC the military should reimburse you for the distance to your home of record or your relocation, whichever is less.
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:19 PM   #3
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Do you pay taxes on a military move, do they gross up expenses if reported on a W-2?
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