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The third and final test for a deductible move is that, if you're an employee, in the first year after you start work in the new location you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks.
If you are self-employed (as a sole proprietor or partner), you must work full time for at least 39 weeks in the first year, and you must also work full time for at least 78 weeks in the first two years.
The weeks need not be consecutive, and they don't have to be with the same employer or in the same business activity if you are self-employed. "Full-time work" means whatever is considered full-time in your occupation and region. Also, vacation time or time off because of illness, strikes, layoffs, natural disasters, or similar causes counts as time worked. If you are using the self-employed rule, you can count time spent as an employee as well as time working for your own company toward the 78-week requirement.
This rule can be waived only if your work is cut short due to death or disability, or if you obtained full-time work but you were transferred by the employer or were laid off for a reason other than misconduct.
If you are filing a joint return, the move is deductible if either spouse meets the 39-week test, or the 78-week test if self-employed. However, time worked by one spouse can't be added to time worked by the other spouse.
Obviously, the one-year period after you begin work in a new location might not coincide with your tax year, which is a calendar year for most individuals. The IRS very graciously allows you to deduct your moving expenses on this year's tax return even if you have not yet met the 39-week or 78-week requirements, as long as you reasonably expect to meet them within the allotted time.
If it later turns out that you can't meet the test, and you don't qualify for any of the exceptions, you have a choice. You can either amend your tax return for the year you claimed the moving expenses using IRS Form 1040X, or add back the expenses as miscellaneous income to your tax return for the year in which you fail the test.