You can deduct your job-seeking expenses

Robert D. Flach
by Robert D. Flach, MainStreet contributor

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Were you unemployed in 2012 and looking for work? If you itemize, you can deduct job search expenses to look for a job in your present line of work as a Miscellaneous Expense on Schedule A, subject to the 2% of AGI exclusion.

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You can claim:

  • 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 resumés, and 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 bought for employment ads.
  • Round-trip travel or transportation to job interviews, including lodging and 50% of meals if you are away from home overnight. You can deduct 55.5 cents per mile for driving to and from interviews.

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You can’t deduct expenses to look for work in a new trade or field. I am an accountant and tax preparer, and 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 or her job search costs.

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