Tax Tips: Job Hunting Deductions

With unemployment at record high levels, a miscellaneous tax deduction that many taxpayers can take advantage of is for job-seeking expenses.

You can deduct expenses you incur to look for a job in your present line of work. This includes:

  • Fees paid to employment agencies, “head hunters” and consulting firms for securing a job, preparing a resumé or career counseling.
  • The cost of typing, printing and mailing out resumés and of assembling portfolios of your work.
  • Advertising for a job, such as in the “job wanted” column of the local newspaper.
  • Telephone calls to set up interviews.
  • Newspapers and periodicals purchased for employment ads.
  • Round-trip travel or transportation to job interviews, including lodging and meals (at 50%) if away from home overnight.
  • You can deduct 55 cents per mile for driving to and from interviews for 2009. For 2010 the standard mileage allowance drops to 50 cents per mile.

You do not have to actually get a new job to be able to deduct the expenses.

You cannot deduct expenses to look for work in a new trade or field. I am an accountant and tax preparer. I cannot deduct my expenses to look for a job as a brick layer.

The costs of finding your first job are also not deductible. A new college graduate cannot deduct his/her job search costs.

— Robert D. Flach

Consumerist has teamed up with MainStreet.com to bring you tax tips every day between now and April 15th. This frees up Tax Cat to do more important things — like trying to claim hairball meds and catnip as business expenses.

Looking for more deductions? You’ll find tons at MainStreet.com.

More from MainStreet.com: