Taxpayers miss opportunity to claim work-related expenses

Only one in five claim work-related expenses; Only 7 percent claim job search expenses

Resume paper, trips to job interviews, even steel-toe boots can all be claimed as a work-related expense on tax filings. Yet only one in five taxpayers say they include it, according to a survey from Liberty Tax Service and CareerBuilder. Only 7 percent have claimed job search expenses.

It's a missed opportunity for a higher tax refund, experts at these companies say. “Documenting the costs of a job search may deliver a tax break whether it results in a new position or not. Job search expenses may be deductible when, totaled with employee expenses and other miscellaneous deductions, they exceed 2 percent of adjusted gross income,” said John Hewitt, CEO of Liberty Tax Service.

Other

  • Professional resume-writing service – 78 percent
  • Resume paper – 84 percent
  • Travel (parking, tolls) to and from job interviews – 57 percent
  • Relocation to another city or state for a job (moving trucks, travel, temporary housing, etc) – 38 percent

When asked if they thought certain job search expenses would qualify for tax refunds, at least three-out-of-four workers were not aware that you may be able to claim professional resume-writing services and resume paper. While more than half didn’t know travel to and from job interviews may be claimed, the majority of workers were aware that costs associated with relocating for a job may be tax deductible.

Number of workers who didn’t know you could potentially claim the following job search expenses:

  • Professional resume-writing service – 78 percent
  • Resume paper – 84 percent
  • Travel (parking, tolls) to and from job interviews – 57 percent
  • Relocation to another city or state for a job (moving trucks, travel, temporary housing, etc) – 38 percent

“Documenting the costs of a job search may deliver a tax break whether it results in a new position or not. Job search expenses may be deductible when, totaled with employee expenses and other miscellaneous deductions, they exceed 2 percent of adjusted gross income,” said John Hewitt, CEO of Liberty Tax Service.

Eligible Work Expenses

While most workers understood uniforms, safety gear and home office equipment or phone/Internet service may be tax deductible, at least half were not aware certain travel expenses and home office furniture could potentially be claimed depending on one’s work situation.

Number of workers who didn’t know you may be able to claim the following work expenses:

  • Uniforms – 37 percent
  • Steel-toe boots for work – 42 percent
  • Safety glasses for work – 44 percent
  • Travel to see clients – 50 percent
  • Travel to work at different locations – 53 percent
  • Home office equipment – 38 percent
  • Home office phone/Internet services – 40 percent
  • Home office furniture – 59 percent

Eligible Education Expenses

Continued education is another area workers can often overlook when filing their taxes. Just one-in-five (23 percent) have claimed their education expenses on their tax return and more than half (55 percent) were not aware that going back to school for new skills in their current occupation may be tax deductible.

“With so many workers transitioning to faster-growing industries post-recession, we see greater investments in acquiring new degrees and certifications,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “If you’re not researching which educational or career-related expenses are tax deductible, you could be leaving money on the table.”

More than half of workers (58 percent) file their taxes in January or February, 28 percent typically file in March and 14 percent file in April or later.

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