Military Life

PCS in the Past Year? Don’t Forget These Deductible PCS Expenses

Tax time is almost upon us! If you’ve PCS’d in the past year, it’s time to start thinking about tax deductible PCS expenses that you can use to save money.

Moving yourself and your family can be a very stressful time. Due to the nature of the job, changing duty stations becomes an expected inevitability. There is a bit of good news that goes along with the moving process when on active duty, however. Unlike the civilian world where most of your moving expenses are not tax deductible, unless strict criteria are met, serving on active duty and moving as a result of orders qualifies you for those tax deductions. This can prove to be very beneficial when figuring your returns come tax time.

So, what expenses can I claim?

There are a wide variety of moving related expenses that can be included when figuring your tax deductions. They can include such things as:

  • Temporary lodging
  • Move-in expenses
  • Movement of household goods and personal effects
  • Travel

When considering the movement of personal goods, be sure to include things such as trailer or truck rentals, packing services, crating services, in-transit storage and the cost of insurance. Be aware that storage and associated insurance costs of up to 30 days after goods and items are removed from the home can be written off. Periods longer than the 30 days are not eligible for deduction. Be sure to include all expenses related to your travel such as airfare, car expenses like oil and gas, tolls, parking fees and lodging. When traveling by car, a standard mileage rate of 20 cents per mile can be included. If this happens to be a foreign move in which you are leaving the United States for a foreign country or moving from one foreign country to another, the moving of household goods to and from storage and the cost of storing these goods while at the foreign duty station can also be included in your deductions.

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What constitutes a PCS Move?

When you are ready to submit your expenses, you must fill out a form 3909 in order to deduct the non-reimbursed portion of your moving expenses. The only criteria that must be met in order to be eligible to fill out and submit this form is that the move must be considered a PCS move or permanent change of station. The following circumstances constitute a PCS move:

  1. For active duty members: a move from your home to your initial post of active duty, a move from one permanent post of duty to another, or a move from your last post of duty to your home or a nearer point in the United States occurring within one year of ending active duty.
  2. For spouse and dependents: situations in which a move is to the servicemember’s place of enlistment or induction, spouse’s or servicemember’s home of record, or a near point in the United States.

When filing your taxes for the year, it is not necessary to include the value of any storage or moving services that have been provided by the government because of a permanent change of station, dislocation allowance, temporary lodging expense, temporary lodging allowance and move-in allowances. In most cases, if it is found, after receipts are submitted, that there was an overage in payment that you received for your PCS move, it will be added to your wages on your W-2 form. If for some reason that was not done, it is your responsibility to include any overage not already included in your gross income on your 1040 tax form. Deductions for moving previously reported on Form 3903 can be transferred to a 1040 form when taxes are filed.

Deductible PCS expenses are one of your benefits. Don’t miss out! And don’t forget, for all things US Military, visit Warrior Lodge, The Ultimate Military Resource Online at


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