Tax tips for job seekers

Posted by Amanda Augustine

January 16, 2013 @ 02:00 AM

For a job seeker, what expenses are tax-deductible?

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While taxes and tax law are definitely not my area of expertise* – I’ll stick to the job search, thank you very much – I wanted to provide some information to help my fellow taxpayers who are currently looking for a job. So I did a little digging and came up with three helpful tax tips for job seekers. Use these steps to learn more about tax deductions and how you may be able to increase your potential tax refund. 

Find out if you’re qualified.

If you’re searching for a job in your current (or recently current) field, your expenses are deductible. However, if you are a recent college graduate or you’re trying to switch careers, your job-search expenses are not deductible. Similarly, if you voluntarily left your last gig and took a substantial amount of time off before starting your search, your expenses are not deductible.

Know what’s tax-deductible.

For those of you who qualify, many of your job-search expenses can be deducted.  This includes: paid subscriptions for services like TheLadders Premium membership; employment agency fees; the price of your professionally-written resume (and any costs associated with preparing and mailing your resume); admission fees for job fairs or other job-related networking events; and telephone, transportation, and travel expenses directly related to the job search.

Seek out professional help.

Here TheLadders, we believe that there are three things you never do by yourself: never write your own will, do your own taxes, or write your own resume. If you’re not sure if the interview suit you bought can be deducted, don’t guess – talk to a professional. Visit the official government site (www.irs.gov) or stop by your local H&R Block for expert advice. Round up all your receipts and email confirmations so you’re prepared for the conversation.

As we know, searching for a job can be expensive – not to mention stressful.  Use these tips to help you get the best tax refund possible. If you didn’t utilize all these tools last year – consider purchasing one of these now and save the receipts for next year’s taxes. 

Please note that I am not a lawyer or accountant, and am not qualified to provide you with legal advice. I can offer some guidance, but they are only my opinions and have not been confirmed with a lawyer. I strongly urge you to seek out a certified tax professional if you have legal questions regarding your taxes.

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Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda  on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.

Topics: Ask Amanda