The following policy addresses moves incurred prior to 01/01/2018. A new policy based on the recent Tax Reform Act is being developed for moves in 2018 and forward.
Moving, Relocation and Temporary Housing
The payment of moving, relocation, and temporary housing expenses for faculty and staff members from department current expenditure funds may be authorized to the extent that funds are available and approved in advance by the appropriate department head. Additional approval by the Principal Investigator is required when appointee’s expenses are to be paid from a grant or contract. All payments shall be made in accordance with procedures outlines in the Amherst Purchasing Policy/Manual [DOC].
A. Moving Expense Categories
Qualified moving expenses include the following:
- Packaging/Storage/Shipping of household goods (personal effects and property) and the reasonable expense for moving an automobile. The MHEC Interstate Moving Contract must be used for contracting with movers for payments made directly to a company. All moving expenses paid by the University to a moving company should be requested on a standard purchase order form and charged to account code 761590.
- Instructional and research material in addition to the personal household goods outlined above when approved as part of the employee agreement.
- Transportation expenses are the costs for the faculty or staff member and family en route to the position assigned including lodging, airfare or mileage (see special IRSmileage rate for moving) using the shortest and most direct route.
- Rental Trucks/Trailers may be authorized if complete documentation is presented that includes receipts for gasoline purchases and truck rental. Reimbursement will be made for the hiring of assistance to help with loading or unloading of household goods when this is the least expensive method.
All travel costs include only the cost between former and new residence by the shortest and most direct route.
- Qualified Moving Expenses Paid to Employees: These payments are not taxable income to the employee, are not included in Box 1 of Form W-2, and are not subject to income tax withholding or Medicare taxes. They are reported in Box 12 of Form W-2 and are identified with code P.
- Qualified Moving Expenses Paid to Third Parties: Qualified moving expenses paid directly to third parties (e.g., to a moving company) are not reported anywhere on the Form W-2. All moving expenses paid by the University to a moving company should be requested on a standard purchase order form and charged to account code 761590.
B. Unallowable Moving/Temporary Housing Expenses
The following expenses should never be paid/reimbursed:
- Cost of breaking a lease
- Cost of selling or buying a new house
- Security deposits
- Moving animals other than household pets
- Cost of connecting or disconnecting appliances or utilities
- Moving non household goods
- Repairs/remodeling of new or former home
- Cost of disposing contents of former home
C. Recordkeeping/Employee Reimbursements
The Moving Expense form (see Forms within the Documents Library for Moving Expense Forms) must be prepared and submitted to the Controller’s Office whenever the University reimburses an employee or pays a third party on the employee’s behalf for moving expenses. If there is more than one payment, a separate moving expense form is required with each payment. Original forms are forwarded to the Controller’s Office before being sent to the Human Resources and copies are kept on file in the Controller’s Office.
It is important for incoming employees who have an approved moving allowance to maintain an accurate record of expenses paid to move. Receipts, bills, cancelled checks, credit card statements and mileage logs are all items that should be saved. All receipts must be itemized showing proof of payment.
Caution: Reimbursements to new employees for out of pocket moving expenses they incur will not be available until the new employee starts receiving compensation through Human Resources. Employee reimbursements follow the same IRS accountable plan rules as any employee reimbursements. Please see section 13 item F, Timeliness, for the IRS accountable plan rules. All reimbursements should be charged to the “moving expense/moving mileage” expense type, account code 726910, in the Expense Module. The University is required to report payments to or on behalf of an employee for moving household goods or related expenses to the Internal Revenue Service and Massachusetts Department of Revenue.