Thursday, January 28, 2010

Are Moving Expenses Tax Deductible?

It turns out you may be able to deduct your moving expenses if you:

- moved due to a change in your job or business location
- moved because you started a new job or business

You need to satisfy two conditions in order for your moving expenses to be tax deductible:

1. Your new job must be at least 50 miles away from your old home
2. You must work at your job full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first year right after you move.

Those conditions however don’t apply to members of the armed forces who moved due to a permanent change of station.

If your moving expenses were reimbursed by your employer, you can no longer deduct them.

Visit the site to learn more about the topic.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Common Misconceptions about Moving – Part II

Estimate is what you will pay once the job is done. An estimate is only… an estimate. The actual amount can be close to it, or it can be nothing like it. But before rushing to accuse the moving company of hidden or unjustified charges, ask yourself if you provided your estimator with an accurate inventory. When you receive your estimate over the phone you have to describe the furniture that you have and give an approximate amount of boxes. It’s common when customers forget to mention certain items, or underestimate how many boxes they will actually have. So if you want to get a binding estimate – request for company’s representative to come in and take a look at your furniture. If you are fine with getting your quote over the phone – be prepared to pay a different amount for the actual move.

You can ride with the movers on the truck to your new location. Moving companies as a rule don’t allow customers to ride on their trucks. First of all the back of the truck might be the only available spot for you to sit in – since the moving crew occupies the cabin. And trailers are not designed to provide protection in case of a crash. Besides no moving company wants to be liable, if something happens to you on the trip. They have workers’ compensation insurance which protects their employees, but not you. So it’s a good idea to book a cab or arrange for a friend to give you a ride, if you don’t own a car.

Anything can be loaded on a moving truck. In fact by federal law or internal policy, professional moving companies cannot transport the following items:

Hazardous Materials
Items that are flammable, corrosive or explosive:

Car batteries
Charcoal lighter fluid
Chemistry sets
Cleaning solvents
Lamp oil
Loaded guns
Motor oil
Paint thinner
Nail polish remover
Pool chemicals
Propane tanks
Weed killer


Food, plants or living things that may die or spoil in transit:

Frozen foods
Refrigerated foods
Open or half used foods

Friday, January 8, 2010

Common Misconceptions about Moving – Part I

Adjusting your expectations means being more prepared and less disappointed. When you hire a moving company, keep these common misconceptions in mind so that you know what to expect:

1. Movers are Always on Time. The truth is delays in moving are as frequent as those at the airport. However when your flight is delayed, you sit patiently at your terminal since there is not much you can do. When movers don’t show up at 9 am sharp, most people start calling the office at 15 minute intervals to express their rage and frustration. Don’t forget that you are dealing with transportation so delays on the road will affect you directly. Just sit back and wait till your moving truck gets through the heavy traffic. Keep in mind that many parkways are closed to trucks, so the driver might have to take an alternative route, which could take longer. Your moving crew will often consist of three of more people – all of them have to get to the company’s parking lot first, some of them taking a subway and occasionally being stuck there. And when one member of the crew is late, the rest have no choice but wait for him. If your move is scheduled for the afternoon, be aware that there is probably another moving job prior to yours, which may take longer than estimated. So thinking that movers are likely to be late is the right bet.

2. Movers Never Feel Tired. Or at least they shouldn’t on your move. Especially if you are paying by the hour. Some people expect the movers to work non-stop for hours: taking smoking, bathroom, or lunch breaks is not quite appreciated. Others find that their crew is not moving fast enough: could you guys run a little faster on the stairs with our extra-heavy grand piano? But speed affects the job quality: things get damaged more frequently if they are being moved in rush. So remember a simple thing: movers are humans, not robots! They need an occasional break and there is clearly a limit to how fast they move around.

3. Everything Can be Wrapped in Moving Blankets. And you can save on the packing supplies – who wants to buy boxes when blankets can be used for free? Some people go even further – they throw their small stuff in large trash bags instead of using the boxes. And they put little consideration how much weight those bags can really hold. Then they demand movers to use blankets to wrap their flat screen TV, an antique mirror and their glass china cabinet. To which the movers will respond, “We will, as long as you sign that you won’t hold us liable for damage”. The point is if you want your furniture intact, use proper packing supplies. Moving blankets are good for your couch, but not for your breakables.