As an exception, the university may agree to provide a new employee with funds to help defray the costs associated with relocation to Tufts. Such payments are commonly referred to as moving expense reimbursements and depending on how the funds are utilized and paid, may constitute taxable income to the recipient. As a result, we suggest you contact Accounts Payable or the HR Service Center for advice prior to making the arrangements.
Per IRS definition, moving expenses fall into two categories; qualified and non-qualified. To be considered qualified the relocation must first meet certain IRS tests relative to time and distance as defined in IRS Publication 521. Additionally the reimbursements must cover “allowable” or “qualified” expenses and be supported by actual documentation. Examples of allowable expenses include the costs associated with packing and moving household goods and personal effects, temporary storage and insurance costs, and transportation costs. Examples of unallowable or non-qualified expenses include expenses associated with selling your old residence, any pre-move house hunting trips, temporary living expenses near Tufts and meal expenses incurred during the relocation. For a complete list of allowable and unallowable expenses, please see IRS Publication 521.
Payments and Tax Obligations
Payments of qualified expense made directly by Tufts to a third party carrier are not taxable to the individual and are not reported on the employee’s W2 form at year end. Departments should contact the Purchasing Office for assistance in establishing a purchase order with the appropriate van line company. In this case, the company will directly invoice Tufts for the costs associated with the move and the employee does not need to seek reimbursement.
Reimbursement of qualified expenses made directly to the individual are also not taxable however, Tufts is obligated to report these amounts on the employee’s W2 form at year end. The amounts will appear in Box 12, Code P of the form. All expenses must be substantiated with actual receipts. Expenses not supported by actual receipts are considered non-qualified and will be subject to tax. Reimbursement of non-qualified expenses will be subject to tax and all applicable taxes will be withheld. These amounts will appear as income on your W2 form at year end. All payments made directly to the employee whether qualified or not, will be processed by the HR Service Center.