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Between packing up your belongings and relocating to a new home, moving can bring with it a lot of stress – but also potential tax-season savings.

“If you are a student, employee or self-employed, you may be able to claim certain moving expenses if you move for education or employment purposes. It’s also important to note that this deduction is eligible for the cost of moving your family members as well, not just you,” says Stefanie Ricchio, CPA, tax expert and spokesperson for TurboTax Canada.

The list of expenses you can claim may be longer than you realize: think storage costs for household items (for example, movers, packing and insurance), accommodation, meals, temporary living expenses, the cost of cancelling a lease or selling your old home, and incidental costs related to your move (for example, changing your address on legal documents, replacing your driver’s license and utility hook-ups).

Eligible or not eligible

Adding up what counts for a moving credit is one thing, but figuring out what you’re eligible for is another. Depending on the reason for your move, tax deduction requirements will look different. For instance, you could be eligible for a deduction if you moved at least 40 kilometres away to work or run a business.

If you’re a student, you have to meet certain requirements before you can claim moving expenses, such as being enrolled in a full-time post-secondary course and having moved at least 40 kilometres closer to your school. Plus, your new home needs to be the place where you stay most often.

However, noted Ms. Ricchio, “this deduction will only be of benefit to you if you have taxable income,” whether it’s from employment, awards, scholarships, bursaries or grants. The TurboTax website has resources to help you learn more about the tax deductions and credits you may be eligible for. And with TurboTax Live Assist & Review, an experienced tax expert will help you understand what you can claim and ensure your return is prepared accurately.

What’s more, Canadians 25 or younger who file with TurboTax are eligible to upgrade to TurboTax Live Assist & Review at no additional cost, allowing them to get unlimited tax help and guidance from a tax expert when they file by April 30, 2024.

Not all provinces tax alike

Correctly determining your province of residency is important when dealing with a move. If you move for work from Ontario to Alberta mid-year, for example, and live in your new home in Alberta as of December 31, Alberta would be considered your new province of residence for the 2023 tax year. A person will be determined to be a resident in the province in which they have the most significant residential ties.

For students, a temporary move to attend school does not mean you are a resident of your school province when it comes to taxes. Students dependent on their parents are generally residents of the province in which their parent(s), sponsor or legal guardian have most recently lived for 12 continuous months. For example, if you go from Ontario to British Columbia to attend school, you would select Ontario as your province of residence when filing your taxes.

The provincial amounts applicable to your situation are calculated based on your province to help you get the maximum credits available to you. The Canada Revenue Agency has a rate page providing an overview of each province.

“Moving provinces or territories is a big change and can have a significant impact on the amount of taxes you must pay and the various refundable and non-refundable tax credits you will be eligible for,” says Ms. Ricchio. “Since provinces and territories have varying tax rates, you may move from a province that has a low tax rate to one that has a higher tax rate, or vice versa, and notice this change in your taxes payable the first time you file.”

Moving can also change which government benefits you’re eligible to receive.

“There are multiple tax credits and incentives available based on where you live – including GST/HST, climate incentives and and other province specific tax credits,” says Ms. Ricchio.

The key consideration for claiming moving deductions for employment is that your deduction cannot exceed the income you have earned in your new location. For example, if your income earned in a new location is $17,500 and moving expenses total $22,000, the maximum amount you can deduct is $17,500. The additional $4,500 can be carried forward and deducted from your employment or self-employment income earned at the new work location and reported on your return in a future year.

“If you are moving for work, self-employment or otherwise, you can only deduct moving expenses against the net income earned at your new residence location,” says Ms. Ricchio. “This means you may have to do a separate calculation to determine how much you can claim if your income is split between your new and old working location, thus ensuring you don’t run into any issues when completing your taxes.”

Learn what can’t be deducted from your move

There are limitations to be aware of when claiming moving expenses, such as when you lack supporting documentation for expenses.

“It’s important to note that you can’t deduct moving expenses your employer has already reimbursed you for,” says Ms. Ricchio. “Or when your new home is not at least 40 kilometres closer to your new work location or school by the shortest public route.”

Other expenses often mistaken for a write-off include money spent fixing your home before putting it up for sale, losses from the sale of your home and the replacement of features such as carpets or drapes.

Navigating these guidelines can seem overwhelming, especially in the midst of a big move, which is where online tax solutions like TurboTax really make a difference. TurboTax suggests credits and deductions personalized to you and your line of work.

If you are filing taxes by yourself, TurboTax can match you with the best online solution for your unique tax situation.

If you’re looking to hand your taxes off to an expert, TurboTax Live Full Service makes it easy to connect with a tax expert who can prepare and file for you in as little as one day, provided you have all of your documents ready. You can also get unlimited help from a tax expert as you prepare your return yourself with TurboTax Live Assist & Review.

This wide range of innovative tax solutions and team of experienced tax experts will help you get your best possible outcome, no matter how big the moves you make, literally – like moving across the country – and figuratively, like with your taxes.

Want a curated list of recommended articles to help you make the most of this year’s tax filing? Take this quiz for tailored tax tips.


Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with TurboTax. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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