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Level 2

repay employer relocation

Hi - due to reasons outside of the scope of this post, I'm leaving my job within 1 year and need to pay back $10k paid by my current employer for relocation expenses+tax gross-up. 
My new employer has agreed to pay me $10k signing bonus to help cover this. However, I am concerned I will have to pay income tax on this $10k signing bonus (around $2.5k in taxes), which means I will be at a net loss of $2.5k.
1. Am I able to get a tax deduction on the $10k I pay back to my current employer (which would then offset the tax I pay on the $10k signing bonus)? 
2. If so, would this work as a wage-reduction on this year's W2 or some other tax method? Does it matter if I am doing standard deduction or itemized deduction?
thanks in advance
3 Replies
Level 15

repay employer relocation

Repayment over $3,000.   If the amount you repaid was more than $3,000, you can recover the tax you originally paid using one of two methods. You can do it as a deduction on schedule A or a tax credit on line 73 of the 1040 form if when you included the income in a previous year, it appeared that you had an unrestricted right to it.


Figure your tax under both methods and compare the results. Use the method (deduction or credit) that results in less tax.


Method 1.   Claiming a deduction for the repaid amount. You deduct it as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on Schedule A  line 28.  (Not allowed for tax years 2018 - 2025)

This is the flow in TurboTax: 
Federal taxes > Deductions & credits > I'll choose what I work on > Other deductions and credits > Other deductible expense>Go thru to third screen> answer YES to "Did you have any other deductions that are not subject to the 2% limitation?"
Enter the amount you repaid under, "Claim of Right Repayment (Only if over $3,000).


Method 2.   Figure your tax claiming a credit for the repaid amount. Follow these steps.

  1. Figure your tax without deducting the repaid amount.
  2. Refigure your tax from the earlier year without including the income that you had to be repaid.
  3. Subtract the tax calculated in (2) from the tax shown on your return for the earlier year. This is the credit.

 This is the flow in TurboTax (This can only be done in the Forms mode of the Desktop version of TurboTax)

Go to FORMS (top right of main screen) > Form 1040 > Scroll below line 72 to "Other Payments and Credits Smart worksheet" (new form/schedules will mean you need to look for the correct place) 
Please enter the credit on line D. 
This credit should show up on Sch 5  line 74
I've included a link to the IRS website for your reference: 


Level 2

repay employer relocation

@Critter  thank you! can you clarify why I can't do method 1 for tax years 2018 - 2025?  I would prefer to do method 1, but you're saying that I can't?


To clarify: the original signing bonus was given to me in 2018. So I would be taking a deduction for it in the 2019 year? 

Level 2

repay employer relocation

@Critter  actually, now that I look at this article, it seems it is not allowed for me to claim a deduction...


Can you help provide your thoughts/perspective?