How Much Money Can You Write Off for Mileage & Moving Expenses?

The average person will hold 11 jobs from the time he turns 18 to his 44th birthday according to United States Census Bureau. That means there's a good chance you will not keep the same job your whole life. If that new job necessitates a move, and your employer doesn't pick up the tab, you can write off the excess. How much you can write off depends on whether you claim the standard mileage deduction or actual expenses.

Moving Mileage

The Internal Revenue Service lets you use the standard mileage rate to figure your moving costs. The rates are based on annual studies on fuel prices and car vehicle depreciation, which means they will change from time to time. The rate for moving expenses was 23 cents per mile as of the 2012 tax year. That was a half-cent less from the year before.

Qualifying Move

Moving expenses are only tax deductible if you meet all three rules regarding job relationship, distance and time. The move has to be closely related to the start of your new employment. That usually means it has to take place within a year from the time you took that job. The IRS also expects this to be a permanent job at least 50 miles away from the home you were in when you had your old job. It's only considered full-time if you have the job at least 39 weeks in the first year, or 78 weeks during the first two years if you're self-employed.

Standard Deduction Option

If you move by car, you can choose between the standard mileage deduction or your actual expenses. If you think oil, gas, tolls and parking adds up to more than the standard mileage, and you can prove it with accurate documentation, then you should try making a claim based on actual expenses. You can't deduct payments for insurance, depreciation, maintenance or general repairs regardless of which method you use.


Moving expenses are considered an adjustment to your income, so you don't have to itemize your deductions to claim them. You'll need to fill out IRS Form 3903, Moving Expenses, to determine the amount. Transfer the information from Form 3903, Line 5 to Form 1040, Line 26. Attach your Form 3903 to Form 1040.


About the Author

Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.