WorkWise BlogTip: Tread carefully with job hunt tax deductions

culp@workwise.netMarch 10, 2013 


You’re in the heat of tax season, looking for deductions. In a moment of desperation you remember last year’s job hunt and the job that put you in this bind. Surely you can find some write-offs, you think.

Perhaps. If your new job put you in a new tax category or field, be prepared to pay the piper.

David Selig points you to IRS publication 529, “Miscellaneous Deductions,” page 8, which says that if you traded a career for a new field, forget the tax breaks (

No employment history at all? No deductions.

How about returning to school if you’re unemployed? The IRS will let you deduct the cost of “education ... during a temporary (year or less) absence ... if it maintains or improves skills needed in your present work and then (you) return to the same general type of work.” You might qualify for deductions from more education if you’re working.

Selig says you can write off interview travel costs, with one exception. “If the IRS thinks you're trying to write off a wonderful vacation while traveling incognito as a job seeker,” he remarks, “you’ll have some explaining to do.”

Consult with a tax preparer before tackling the IRS.

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