Are Job Search Expenses Deductible in 2020?

Job-search expenses are no longer deductible for tax years 2018 through 2025 due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that Congress signed into law on December 22, 2017 – as the 2% miscellaneous deduction will be removed. See IRS publication 529 for more details.

For the 2018 to 2025 tax years, you can only deduct certain unreimbursed job expenses if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • Armed Forces reservists
  • Fee-based state or local government officials
  • Qualified performing artists
  • Employees with impairment-related work expenses
  • If you fall into one of these categories and have work-related expenses, you must fill out Form 2106 to deduct your expenses.

Teachers can also deduct some work-related expenses. However, their deduction is limited to $250, and it goes on Line 10 of Schedule 1.

What Job Search Expenses Are Deductible

A job search can generate a substantial amount of expense when you start adding up printing costs, travel costs, and expenses incurred from networking. You can deduct the following expenses incurred while looking for a new job: 

  • Employment and Outplacement Agency Fees
  • Moving Expenses Related to a New Job
  • Resume Fees
  • Travel and Transportation Expenses
  • Job Search Expenses

Travel & Mileage Deductions-

Just like in most of the jobs, if you are using any kind of vehicle for the job, you can deduct the expenses as actual or by using the mileage deduction method. Maintaining the records is important as proof of expense. Actual expenses can include the following:

  • Gas and oil
  • Repairs
  • Tires
  • Insurance
  • Registration fees
  • Auto licenses
  • Depreciation (or lease payments)

Other Expenses-

Here are some other expenses that can be counted as miscellaneous –

  • Tools or supplies used for your work
  • Dues paid to professional societies or other organizations that help you perform your job
  • Clothing, uniforms, and safety gear that aren’t suitable to be worn outside work
  • Business travel expenses
  • Malpractice and business liability premiums
  • Home office expenses

You cannot deduct these expenses if:

  • You are looking for a job in a new/different profession
  • There was a substantial break between the end of your last job and your search for a new one
  • You are in the job market for the first time
  • The expenses were reimbursed


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