Not all employers will pay moving expenses, but if you have to relocate for your job, especially if it's a new job, chances are good that you can negotiate for your employer to pick up the tab. With moving expenses easily running into the thousands of dollars, or even higher than $10,000, employer-paid moving expenses can be an attractive benefit.
When do Employers Pay
One-third of employers responding to a 2008 survey published by Careerbuilder.com and Apartments.com said they had paid for moving expenses to relocate an employee from another area to their company's location in the two previous years. Most of the time, those employers are paying for new hires to move, but employers will also pay if they ask you to relocate to work for another branch of the company. If you already live within communiting distance from the company, chances are low that your employer will pay for a move so you can be closer.
How Much will Employers Pay
Employers won't always pay the full cost of your move. Usually, they will set a figure that they will be willing to reimburse before you start the process. This number can be as low as a few thousand dollars or as high as $10,000 or more. According to the Careerbuilder.com and Apartments.com survey, 40 percent of employers who responded would pay at least $1,000, about 33 percent would pay at least $2,500, and 10 percent were willing to pay more than $10,000.
Negotiating for Moving Expenses
As with any part of your employment package, whether and how much your employer pays for moving expenses is usually part of negotiations when you are hired. Employees who are prepared with figures to back up their requests will generally be more successful in getting their employers to pay for their move than those who aren't. Wait until the job offer has been made to bring up moving expenses, then be ready to back up your request with a few quotes from movers. You can also negotiate for your employer to assist with specific parts of your move. Ask if the company will pay for a realtor to show you homes in your new location, if the company can help get you a preferred mortgage in your new home, and if it will pay for storage costs in the event you can't find a new place right away. Some employers will even buy your present home if you can't sell it fast enough, according to consultant Jenny Schade.
Declaring Employer-Paid Moving Expenses on Your Taxes
The way your employer reimburses you for your moving expenses will have an effect on how much you are taxed for them. Certain types of reimbursment plans are not included with your wages on tax forms, and are therefore not taxed. Others, paid under what the IRS calls non-accountable plans, will be taxed as part of your income. The good news for employees who fail to negotiate moving expenses as part of their compensation package, though, is that Uncle Sam could pick up some of the tab at tax time. If you are moving to be closer to a full-time job, chances are you can deduct most of your moving expenses from your taxes.