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How to Take Deductions for Job Hunt

While the recently lowered unemployment rate shines a thin slice of hope on the state of the job market, plenty of Americans are still on the hunt or plan to start looking.  (Initial jobless claims dipped by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 382,000 in the week ended April 2, according to the latest Labor Department data.) And seeing signals of an economy on the mend, 73% of professionals say they plan to shovel more resources into their job search, says Jennifer Merritt, citing a Glassdoor.com survey.   Whether you’re a go-getter looking to strap a jet pack on your career, or you’re still stymied by recession-era layoffs, looking for a job can be costly. The good news? If you itemize deductions, many of those job-search expenses are deductible.

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You can deduct job-search expenses as part of your miscellaneous itemized deductions, which—as a whole—are deductible if they exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income, as we previously reported. Keep in mind you can only deduct the amount exceeding that 2% figure, writes Merritt. None of this will fly if you’re searching for your first job, or if you’re new to a field.

Some job-search expenses automatically leap to mind, like resume-printing and mailing costs. But don’t forget the less-obvious and more-costly search-related expenses–out-of-state travel, career coaching, and even some childcare. The key nugget here, like most tax-related advice, is to keep fastidious records of your expenses.

Check out some of the items that topped Merritt’s list of deductions for job seekers.

Readers, what types of job-search-related expenses have you tried to deduct?

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About The Tax Blog

  • The Tax Blog brings together a team of award-winning tax journalists from the Dow Jones network and around the web to examine the tax issues, changes and legislation that affect families, investors and small business owners. Our contributors include Tax Report columnist Laura Saunders (WSJ), Tax Guy columnist Bill Bischoff and senior reporter Jilian Mincer (SmartMoney.com), retirement-focused reporter Anne Tergesen (WSJ), wealth management writer Arden Dale (Dow Jones Newswires), TaxWatch columnist Eva Rosenberg and personal finance reporter Andrea Coombes (MarketWatch), and reporter Alyssa Abkowitz (SmartMoney). They’ll provide the latest news and insight, mine the tax code for tips and loopholes, and answer your questions about tricky tax situations. Contact the The Tax Blog with ideas, suggestions or tax questions at thetaxblog@dowjones.com.

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