Sometimes it might feel like all the money you spend trying to find a job just blows away in the wind. But that really isn’t true if your money was being invested in your future career because that investment will bring a return eventually. Until then, you might want to check out what the IRS says about deductions for individuals: under “Job Search Expenses,” there are some that can help. Of course, there are restrictions, and you will have to do your homework to see if you qualify.
The IRS does not allow deductions for first-time job seekers, those who have been long-unemployed, or those switching career fields. You have to be looking for a new job in your current occupation. For example, if you have been a carpenter, there will be no deductions for your search to be a pastry chef, but there might be if you are looking for better-paying carpentry jobs.
If you qualify, you can deduct these things:
- Employment and outplacement agency fees — unless your employer pays you back or pays the agency
- Resume costs — if you are looking for a new job in your present occupation, you can deduct the amounts spent on preparing and distribution
- Travel expenses — this gets tricky because it depends on the amount of time your trip is devoted to your job search, but there will be some deductions in most cases
If you aren’t in the habit of keeping receipts for tax deduction purposes, you lose the chance to do it. Careful record keeping of your job search and employment expenses can keep some of that money from just blowing away in the wind. Itemized deductions need to be proven and need to be accurate for the current tax rules, so talking to an expert about your individual return is a good idea.