Tax Breaks For The Unemployed

With the April 17 tax deadline two weeks away, millions of taxpayers are scrambling to file on time. Many risk overlooking the numerous tax breaks available to job seekers.

Combing through receipts and other materials to figure out if you’re eligible for a particular tax deduction or credit can be overwhelming at the best of times. For the unemployed, it can be even more daunting.

John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, says it’s critical that such individuals seek out any financial advantage they can while between jobs. 

He says many expenses related to a job search are deductable — from stationary for printing résumés to travel to a job interview.  The only catch is that, as with the self-employed, such expenses must come to more than 2% of their income.

“For many long-term unemployed, their incomes have been reduced, and they can meet the 2% of total income that you have to have to start to get these deductions. They’re much more available than usual.”

Miscellaneous deductions for unemployed and job seeking taxpayers are available from Publication 529 on the IRS’ website.


Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

More Information