These days a lot of Americans find themselves pounding the pavement in quest of a new job, whether they’ve gotten the pink slip or expect to get one soon. The good news: The search may help you cut your tax bill — under certain circumstances, job-hunting expenses are tax-deductible.
New job, same field
First, your hunt for new work must be in the same field in which you’re currently or were formerly employed. Uncle Sam won’t help out if you decide to totally switch career gears.
Second, you can’t decide to chill out for a while and then expect the Internal Revenue Service to help when you decide it’s time to get back on the career track. Deductions aren’t allowed for employment-search costs when there is a “substantial break” between your last job and when you begin looking for a new one.
Finally, recent graduates are out of luck. The costs you incur in getting your first job aren’t deductible, because the tax law only allows you to write off expenses incurred in searching for another position in your present occupation.
But if you’re on the lookout for a new position, start saving those job-search receipts.