Can I deduct job-search expenses?
Job-search expenses while looking for new work in your current occupation are an allowable deduction, even if you don't land a job.
The expenses must be directly and exclusively related to your job search, and could include things like:
- Preparing your résumé.
- Printing and mailing costs.
- Posting your résumé and placing ads.
- Phone and computer expenses.
- Food and lodging for out-of-town job-hunting trips.
- Employment and outplacement agency fees.
- Registration fees for conventions and other networking opportunities specific to your line of work.
Job search expenses aren't fully deductible as they are subject to the 2% rule. Here are some more limitations:
- Expenses incurred while searching for a job in a new occupation aren't deductible.
- This means that most newly-graduated high-school and college students won't be able to claim this deduction, unless they were already engaged in the same line of work while in school.
- You can't deduct things like a new outfit for a job interview or a computer you bought to help with the job search because those things could (theoretically) be used for other occasions.
- Home office expenses don't qualify as job-search expenses.
- Expenses aren't deductible if there was a substantial break between the end of your last job and the time you began looking for a new one (for example, if you left your job 15 years ago to raise a family and are now trying to re-enter the workforce).