Payment of Moving Expenses

 

GENERAL INFORMATION
The procedures listed below are to be followed for all payments of moving expenses from either University funds (E&G, Sponsored Programs, and Agency Special) or the OU Foundation (OUF). When the source of funds is from sponsored program grants and contracts, reference should be made to the specific language of the grant or contract as to the payment of moving expenses. All payments, including those from sources outside the department (such as search committees or the OUF) must be included.


(NOTE: Current OUF policies require that requests for payment of QUALIFIED moving expenses must have the prior approval of the Provost. NONQUALIFIED moving expenses will not be paid by the OUF.)

A Summary of Current IRS Regulations follows this section. Employees are cautioned that the summary is for information only and is not to be relied on as tax advice to the employee. IRS regulations are subject to different interpretations by different individuals and organizations; therefore, employees should obtain their own tax advice from tax experts of their own choosing.

DEPARTMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO THE MOVING EXPENSE POLICIES
The "University of Oklahoma Moving Expense Certification" form should be used as follows:

  1. After all moving expenses have been incurred and/or paid, complete in full Parts I and II of the University's "Employee Moving Expense Certification" form.

    • This form is to be used to request reimbursement of employee incurred moving expenses and payment of moving expenses directly to third parties by the University. All requests for these payments must be accompanied by sufficient supporting documentation (e.g., original invoices, mileage logs, etc.).

    • This form is also to be used to report to Payroll and Records and the employee all related moving expense payments made directly to third parties by the University and/or OUF.
       
  2. Obtain the employee's signature in PART III, EMPLOYEE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. By signing, the employee is acknowledging that he/she is aware that "nonqualified" moving expenses paid for the employee will be reported as W-2 income and be subject to federal and state income tax and FICA withholding.
     
  3. Obtain the department sponsor's approval in PART IV, AUTHORIZATION. If the employee is to be reimbursed for moving expenses or the University is to make payment directly to a third party, forward the original form, accompanied by sufficient supporting documentation (e.g., original invoices, mileage logs, etc...), to Financial Services.
     
  4. Send one copy of the completed form to Payroll and Records and give one copy to the employee. This form should be submitted as soon as all moving expenses have been paid.  If nearing the end of the calendar year, contact Payroll & Records for the year end deadline.
     
  5. If after the end of the calendar year, additional moving expenses are paid, another form must be submitted for expenses paid in the new year.

PAYMENT OF EMPLOYEE MOVING EXPENSES
SUMMARY OF CURRENT IRS REGULATIONS

The following is a summary of the IRS regulations (current as of April 2008) relating to the payment and deduction of moving expenses. You may visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov to obtain up-to-date information.

Employees are cautioned that the following is for information only and is not to be relied on as tax advice to the employee. IRS regulations are subject to different interpretations by different individuals and organizations; therefore, employees should obtain their own tax advice from tax experts of their own choosing.

The only moving expenses that are deductible are expenses incurred in moving household goods and personal effects from the employee's old residence to the new residence and in traveling (including lodging but not meals) from the old residence to the new residence. To qualify for these deductions, moving expenses must generally be incurred within one year from the date the employee first reported to work. In addition, the distance between the employee's new workplace and his/her old residence must be at least 50 miles farther than the distance between the employee's old workplace and his/her old residence. For example, if the employee's old workplace was 3 miles from his/her former residence, the new workplace must be at least 53 miles from that former residence.

DEDUCTIONS ARE NOT ALLOWED FOR THE COST OF PRE-MOVE HOUSEHUNTING TRIPS; TEMPORARY LIVING EXPENSES IN THE GENERAL AREA OF THE NEW WORKPLACE; SELLING (OR SETTLING AN UNEXPIRED LEASE ON) THE OLD RESIDENCE AND BUYING (OR ACQUIRING A LEASE ON) THE NEW RESIDENCE; OR ANY MEALS CONNECTED WITH THE RELOCATION.

If an employer pays for "qualified" moving expenses that meet the criteria for deductibility (regardless of whether the payment was a reimbursement to the employee or directly to a third party), the amount of the payment is excluded from the employee's income as a nontaxable fringe benefit.

If an employer pays for "nonqualified" moving expenses (either to the employee or a third party), the amount of the payment is includable in the gross income of the employee and is to be reported as W-2 income and will be subject to federal and state income tax and FICA withholding.

QUALIFIED (NONTAXABLE) MOVING EXPENSES:
If the time and distance requirements discussed above are met, the employee can exclude from gross income the reasonable expenses of:

  1. Moving household goods and personal effects (including in-transit or foreign-move storage expense) of the employee and the employee's household from the employee's old residence to the new residence (see storage limitations under household goods and personal effects below), and
     
  2. Traveling (including lodging but not meals) from the employee's old residence to the new residence.

Reasonable expenses. The employee can only exclude from gross income those expenses that are reasonable for the circumstances of the move. For example, the cost of traveling from the employee's old residence to the new residence should be by the shortest, most direct route available by conventional transportation. If, during the employee's trip to the new residence, side trips are made for sightseeing, the additional expenses for the side trips are not qualified moving expenses.

Travel by car. If the employee's personal car is used to move the employee, members of their household, or possessions to the new home, the employee can exclude from gross income either:

  1. The employee's actual expenses, such as gas and oil for the car, if an accurate record of each expense is kept, or
     
  2. The standard mileage rate, which is provided in IRS Publication 521.

Members of employee's household. The employee can exclude from gross income moving expenses for the employee and members of the household. A member of the household is anyone who has both the employee's former and new residence as his or her home.

Household goods and personal effects. The employee can exclude from gross income the cost of packing, crating, and transporting the employee's household goods and personal effects and those of the members of the household from the employee's old residence to the new residence. The employee can also exclude from gross income the cost of storing and insuring household goods and personal effects within any period of 30 consecutive days after the day the employee's things are moved from the old residence and before they are delivered to the new residence.

The employee can exclude from gross income any costs of connecting or disconnecting utilities required because the employee is moving the household goods, appliances, or personal effects.

The employee can exclude from gross income the cost of shipping the employee's car and household pets to the new residence.

The employee can exclude from gross income the cost of moving the employee's household goods and personal effects from a place other than the former home. The exclusion is limited to the amount it would have cost to move them from the former home.

Travel expenses. The employee can exclude from gross income the cost of transportation and lodging (but not meals) for the employee and for members of the household while traveling from the old residence to the new residence. This includes expenses for the day the employee arrives. The employee can exclude any lodging expenses in the area of the old residence within one day after they could not live in the old residence because the furniture had been moved. The employee can exclude from gross income expenses for only one trip for the employee and members of the household. However, they all do not have to travel together.

NONQUALIFIED (TAXABLE) MOVING EXPENSES:
Expenses incurred by the employee and the employee's household for any of the following are includable in gross income and are to be reported as W-2 income and be subject to federal and state income tax and FICA withholding.

  • Any part of the purchase price of a new home
  • Car tags
  • Driver's license
  • Expenses of buying or selling a home
  • Expenses of getting or breaking a lease
  • Home improvements to help sell a home
  • Loss on the sale of a home
  • Losses from disposing of memberships in clubs
  • Meal expenses
  • Mortgage penalties
  • Moving furniture purchased on the way to the employee's new home
  • Pre-move house-hunting expenses
  • Real estate taxes
  • Refitting carpets and draperies
  • Return trips to your former residence
  • Security deposits (including any given up due to a move)
  • Storage charges except those incurred in-transit and for foreign moves
  • Temporary living expenses

CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO THE EMPLOYEE MOVING EXPENSE POLICIES

CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO IRS Publication 521.