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Job Search Expenses Are Tax Deductible When Unemployed

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Job Search Expense Deduction

Regardless of the reasons for your unemployment, your job search expenses are tax deductible on your federal income tax when you incur costs looking for work. Eligibility for the deduction requires that you not be looking for your first job, do not look for work in a field that is unrelated to your recent occupation and that there not be a substantial amount of time between your last day of work and the day you start looking for a new job. Furthermore, you can claim a deduction for your job search expenses even if your efforts are unsuccessful and you remain unemployed at the end of the tax year.

Job Search Expenses to Include In the Deduction

If you meet the above requirements, your deduction for job search expenses can include the fees you pay to a recruitment agency that assists with your job search, the fees you pay to have a resume drafted, the cost of printing and mailing your resume and job applications as well as any transportation costs you incur when it’s necessary to travel to interviews or apply to prospective employers in person. If you use a personal vehicle as your means of transportation, the IRS will allow you to use the standard mileage rate to calculate your transportation costs.

Job Search Expenses Must Be Itemized

In order to claim any deduction for your job search expenses, you must elect to itemize your deduction on a Form 1040 instead of claiming the standard deduction. However, your job search expenses are included in your itemized miscellaneous deduction which is subject to the 2 percent adjusted gross income limitation. This means that the total of all your miscellaneous expenses are only deductible to the extent it exceeds 2 percent of your AGI.

Reference: IRS Publication 529-Miscellaneous Expenses