Employer Reimbursements for Moving Expenses

For tax years prior to 2018, employees could exclude from income moving expenses reimbursed or paid by an employer. However, due to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) last year, this tax provision has been suspended starting this year. This means, that going forward, these amounts are considered taxable income with one exception: amounts reimbursed to active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces whose moves relate to a military-ordered permanent change of station.

However, the IRS recently clarified that payments or reimbursements made by employers in 2018 for employees’ moving expenses incurred in 2017 (or prior years) will be excluded from the employee’s wages for income and employment tax purposes. This holds true if the employer pays a moving company in 2018 for qualified moving services provided to an employee prior to 2018 as well.

To qualify, reimbursements or payments must be for work-related moving expenses that would have been deductible by the employee if the employee had directly paid them prior to January 1, 2018. That is, the employee must not have deducted them in 2017. Employers that have already treated reimbursements or payments as taxable should follow the normal employment tax adjustment and refund procedures.

Please call our office if you have any questions about this topic.