How to Write Off Your Job Hunt


March Madness means more than basketball. Can you say tax time? If you spend a chunk of time and money on the job-hunting trail, you’ll probably have a tidy pile of receipts stashed in an envelope or file to show for it.

Anyone who has put together a natty new resume on high-quality paper, mailed it out the old-fashioned way, bought new business cards, traveled back and forth to job interviews, or attended a networking event is painfully aware of the price tag. The simple nuts and bolts of marketing yourself can be pricey. Believe me, those $15 parking garage tickets do add up to a sizeable sum.

You’ll be grateful for rigorous record-keeping. I recommend keeping a journal with notations of what you did each day toward your job-hunt and what money you spent, even if you don’t have a paper receipt.

“When you’re looking for a job you’re probably short on cash and will want to reduce your tax bill as much as possible,” CCH Tax Expert and Analyst Mark Luscombe says. “So you should claim all the deductions you can, if you’re eligible.”

And that’s the trick—knowing what is and what’s not acceptable by The Internal Revenue Service. There are restrictions.

The biggest one is job hunting deductions apply only to job searching in your current occupation. If you’re switching careers, they’re off-limits. And if you’re looking for your first job, you’re ...

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