Ask an Accountant: Moving on up

Francesca Giroux, CPA
For the Lakeside Leader

What moving expenses can I claim on my personal tax return? What if my employer reimburses me for some or all of these expenses? First of all, you must determine whether or not you are eligible to claim moving expenses. If you are an employee, a self-employed individual, or student studying full-time at an institution offering post-secondary education and have moved in Canada at least 40 km closer to your new work or school location, you can deduct eligible moving expenses from employment or self-employment income that is earned at your new location. If you are a full-time student you can only deduct eligible moving expenses from the part of your scholarships, fellowships, bursaries, certain prizes, and research grants that are required to be included in you income. Moving expenses that are not fully used on a tax return may be carried forward to future years.

Eligible moving expenses include transportation and storage costs (such as packing, hauling costs, in-transit storage, and insurance) for all household items that you are moving. Travelling expenses such as meals, accommodations, and vehicle expenses incurred to move you and the members of your household to your new home are eligible expenses. The expenses claimed can be based on receipts provided or if using the simplified method no receipts are necessary. For the simplified method you can claim 45 cents per km travelled, and $17/meal up to three meals a day per individual. Incidental costs can also be claimed such as changing your address on legal documents, replacing driver’s licenses and utility hook-ups and disconnections. Costs to maintain your residence at the previous location while vacant (i.e. insurance, heat and utilities, property taxes, and interest), can be claimed up to a maximum of $5,000 during a period where reasonable efforts must have been made to sell the home. Moreover, the costs to sell your old residence (i.e. legal fees, advertising, real estate commission and mortgage penalties) are also eligible.

If you received a moving allowance or were reimbursed for moving expenses by your employer and this amount was not included in your income for the year, then you reduce your claim for moving expenses by the amount of the allowance or reimbursement.

Remember to keep your receipts and documents to support the moving expenses that you are claiming!
Please e-mail your questions to [email protected]

Information provided is of a general nature. As each individual or company’s situation is unique.

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