I moved to another state for a new job at which I expected to be full-time for an indefinite amount of time. However, a few months into the position it was clear the company was not the right fit, and I ended up quitting.

According to what I'm reading, in order to apply for moving expense deductions you have to plan to work for the company for at least 39 weeks.

I planned to work there for years; it was not a contracting position and was not seasonal or temporary or anything like that. It was intended to be a fully-fledged, long-term position.

Should I still file those expenses?

  • Have you moved somewhere else since, or are you trying to find a job elsewhere in the area?
    – Ben Miller
    Jan 17, 2016 at 12:31
  • @BenMiller I moved back to my resident state afterward. Jan 17, 2016 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


IRS Publication 521 covers Moving Expenses.

According to Pub 521, in order to deduct moving expenses, there are three requirements that you must meet, one of which is called the time test:

Time Test for Employees

If you are an employee, you must work full time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months after you arrive in the general area of your new job location (39-week test). Full-time employment depends on what is usual for your type of work in your area.

For purposes of this test, the following four rules apply.

  • You count only your full-time work as an employee, not any work you do as a self-employed person.

  • You do not have to work for the same employer for all 39 weeks.

  • You do not have to work 39 weeks in a row.

  • You must work full time within the same general commuting area for all 39 weeks.

Yes, the 39-week employment period is a requirement. However, the 39 weeks do not have to be consecutive nor with the same employer. Also, the 39 weeks do not have to be complete before taking the deduction. Pub 521 goes on further to explain this in the section Time Test Not Yet Met. Essentially, you can deduct your moving expenses if you think that you will meet this 39-week requirement over the 12 months following your move. If you decide to take the deduction and then it turns out that you did not meet the 39-week test, you must fix it by either amending your tax return or adding the deduction back in as "extra income" on the next year's return. Pub 521 also lists exceptions to the 39-week rule which will get you out of the time test, (including getting laid off), but quitting is not one of them.

Since you have already left the area, you will not meet this 39-week test and should not deduct the expenses for that move. However, in moving back to your home state, you have made a new move that might be eligible for deduction, depending on your job situation.

  • If you decide to ... [deduct] and then it turns out that you did not meet the 39-week test, you must fix it by either amending your tax return or adding the deduction back in ... That's what I was looking for. Thank you! Jan 17, 2016 at 12:42
  • 2
    @Qix since you know you will not be able to meet the time test you shouldn't deduct the expenses for the first move. Also make sure you meet the all three tests for the second move. Jan 17, 2016 at 13:41

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