General Rules

Employees or self-employed individuals may deduct the expense of moving themselves and their families provided the move relates to employment or business income that is subject to Massachusetts tax.

Any Moving Expense Reimbursement may not be claimed as a deduction; only out of pocket expenses may be deducted.

In order to claim the deduction, all of the following criteria must be met:

  1. the taxpayer's new main job location is at least 50 miles farther from his/her former home than his/her old main job location was from the former home (new commute is at least 50 miles farther than old commute);
  2. the taxpayer must be employed full time for at least 39 weeks during the 12-month period immediately following the move. If self-employed, the taxpayer must be employed or performing services full time for at least 78 weeks during the 24-month period immediately following the move and at least 39 weeks during the first 12-months; and
  3. the amount spent on moving is reasonable.

Qualified deductible moving expenses are limited to the cost of:

  1. transportation of household goods and personal effects; and
  2. travel (including lodging but not meals) to the new residence.

Note: Where an automobile is used in making the move, a taxpayer may deduct either:

  • The actual out-of-pocket expenses incurred (gas and oil, but not repairs or depreciation, etc.); or
  • A standard mileage allowance as determined by the IRS.


Distance Test Examples:

Example 1:

Distance from former residence to former main job = 3 miles;
Distance from former residence to new main job = 58 miles.

The taxpayer qualifies for the deduction since his new main job is 55 miles (58-3) farther from the former residence than the old main job location was.

Example 2:

Distance from former residence to former main job = 11 miles;
Distance from former residence to new main job = 52 miles. 

In this case, the taxpayer does not qualify for the deduction since his new main job is only 41 miles (52 - 11) farther from the former residence than the old main job location was.

Example 3:
Nonresident living and working in northern New Hampshire takes a job in Massachusetts and moves to southern New Hampshire to be closer to the job in Massachusetts. Nonresidents are entitled to the moving expense deduction provided the move relates to employment or business income that is subject to tax in Massachusetts.

Distance from former residence to former main job = 22 miles;
Distance from former residence to new main job = 152 miles.

The taxpayer qualifies for the deduction since his new main job is 130 miles (152-22) farther from the former residence than the old main job location was.

Members of the Armed Forces:
Members of the armed forces can have a Massachusetts moving expense if they have Massachusetts income and have moved to or from Massachusetts.

Since moving and storage expenses furnished in kind by the military, or cash reimbursements or allowances to the extent of expenses actually paid or incurred incident to a permanent change of station for a member of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty, are excludible from both Federal and Mass gross income, such expenses cannot be used in the calculation of the moving expense.

No Tax Status and Limited Income Credit Calculation:

This deduction impacts the calculation of No Tax Status and the Limited Income Credit as it is treated as an adjustment to arrive at Massachusetts adjusted gross income on the Massachusetts AGI Worksheet and Schedule NTS-L-NR/PY.


Where to Report on Original Tax Return; What to Enclose:

  • The amount reported on U.S. Form 1040, Line 26 must be entered on either Mass Form 1 or Form 1-NR/PY, Schedule Y, Line 5.

Nonresidents and part-year residents can only take those moving expenses that relate to employment or business income which is subject to Massachusetts tax.


Documentation to Submit with Abatement/Amended Tax Return:

  • Copy of U.S. Form 3903 - Moving Expenses (if applicable).

Massachusetts References:

Federal References:

  • I.R.C. § 217

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