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Military Moving Expenses

To deduct moving expenses, you usually must meet certain time and distance tests. However, if you’re a member of the armed forces on active duty and you move due to a permanent change of station, you don't have to meet these tests. You can deduct your unreimbursed moving expenses on Form 3903: Moving Expenses.

Permanent change of station -- This includes a move from:

  • Your home to your first post of active duty
  • One permanent post of duty to another
  • Your last post of duty to your home or to a nearer point in the United States. The move must occur within either:
    • One year of ending your active duty
    • The period allowed under the Joint Federal Travel Regulations

Spouse and dependents -- Spouses or dependents of a member of the armed forces who deserts, is imprisoned, or dies have special requirements. A permanent change of station includes a move to any of these locations:

  • To the member's place of enlistment or induction
  • To your or the member's home of record
  • A nearer point in the United States

The military might move you to or from a different location than the member. If so, the moves are treated as a single move to your new main job location.

Deductible moving expenses -- You can deduct the unreimbursed expenses of moving your household goods and personal effects, including these expenses:

  • Hauling a trailer
  • Packing
  • Crating
  • In-transit storage
  • Insurance

You can include only the cost of storing and insuring your household goods and personal effects within any period of 30 consecutive days between these days:

  • After these goods and effects are moved from your former home
  • Before they’re delivered to your new home

You can deduct the expenses of traveling from your old home to your new home. These expenses don't include meals, but they do include:

  • Lodging
  • Car expenses
  • Air fare

Foreign moves -- A foreign move is a move from:

  • The United States or its possessions to a foreign country
  • One foreign country to another foreign country

It's not a move from a foreign country to the United States or its possessions.

For a foreign move, the above deductible moving expenses are expanded to include these reasonable expenses:

  • Moving your household goods and personal effects to and from storage
  • Storing these items for part or all of the time the new job location remains your main job location

The military might move you to or from a different location than the military member. If so, the moves are treated as a single move to your new main job location.

To learn more, see these tax tips:

  • Military Income Inclusions
  • Military Income Exclusions
  • Combat Zone Exclusions
  • Military Extensions

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