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Deductible Moving Expense Changes with Tax Reform

For businesses that have employees, there are changes to fringe benefits that can affect a business’s bottom line and their employee’s tax liabilities. One of these changes is to qualified moving expenses. Under previous law, payment or reimbursement of an employee’s qualified moving expenses were not subject to income or employment taxes.

Under last year’s tax reform legislation, employers must include all moving expenses in employees’ wages, subject to income and employment taxes.


Generally, members of the U.S. Armed Forces can still exclude qualified moving expense reimbursements from their income if:

  • they are on active duty,
  • they move pursuant to a military order and incident to a permanent change of station, and
  • the moving expenses would qualify as a deduction if the employee did not get a reimbursement.

Transition Rule

There is a transition rule under the new law. Under this rule, certain payments or reimbursements are not subject to federal income or employment taxes. This includes amounts that:

  • an employer pays a third party in 2018 for qualified moving services provided to an employee prior to 2018,
  • an employer reimburses an employee in 2018 for qualified moving expenses incurred prior to 2018.

To qualify for the transition rule, the payments or reimbursements must be for qualified expenses that would have been deductible by the employee if the employee had directly paid them before January 1, 2018. The employee must not have deducted them in 2017.


Employers who have included amounts covered by the exception or the transition rule in individuals’ wages or compensation can take steps to correct taxable wages and employment taxes.

For more information about this article, please contact our tax professionals at or toll free at (844) 252-7337.

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