Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Policies-12

1.3.1.2 Moving Expenses (Revised as of 8/5/16)

DESCRIPTION

This policy outlines rules and processes related to personal moving expenses. The term "personal moving expenses" includes the costs incurred for relocating the household goods (as defined in the policy statement below) and/or the family of a new employee. Non-personal moving expenses such as the moving of a Laboratory and/or Lab Equipment related to a Federal Grant/Contract are not in this section since they are accomplished via a purchase order requested through the Procurement & Strategic Sourcing (PASS) Department (Refer to APPM section 2.2 Initiating a Request.)

It is important to note that Internal Revenue Service regulations currently consider all reimbursements associated with the move that are not “qualified moving expenses” to be taxable income to the employee subject to withholding and reporting on the employee’s Form W-2.  The Payroll Department will be notified of all personal moving expense reimbursements so as to withhold appropriate taxes. Employees will be notified of the taxable amount of the reimbursement prior to the withholding. Following are some examples of non-qualified (taxable) expenses that the IRS currently considers taxable income to the employee:

  1. Meals
  2. Pre-move house hunting expenses
  3. Temporary living expenses near the University
  4. Home improvements to help sell the home
  5. Loss on sale of home
  6. Expenses of buying/selling home
  7. Real estate taxes
  8. Mortgage penalties
  9. Payments for moving goods from a second home

Following are some examples of qualified (non-taxable) expenses that the IRS currently considers non-taxable income to the employee:

  1. Expenses for moving household goods and personal effects
  2. En route travel by car using approved IRS mileage reimbursement
  3. En route lodging
  4. Storage of household goods up to 30 days

Expense reimbursements must meet all of the IRS tests listed below to be considered non-taxable:

  1. During the 12 months period immediately following your arrival for work, you are a full-time employee during at least 39 weeks OR during the 24 month period following arrival for work you are a full-time employee during at least 78 weeks
  2. Employee’s new place of work is at least 50 miles farther from his/her previous residence than his/her previous work OR if he/she had no previous work, at least 50 miles from his/her previous residence.  (Example – The commute from an employee’s previous home to his/her previous job was 7 miles.  The employee’s commute from his/her previous home to his/her new job must be at least 57 miles.)
  3. Expenses are incurred within one year of the date of beginning new job.
  4. Expenses for moving household goods and effects or Expenses for traveling from former residence to new residence (includes lodging and/or travel by car.)
  5. Expenses are for the employee and members of the employee’s household who lived at the former residence and who will live at the new residence.

POLICY

Reimbursement of personal moving expenses from university funds may be authorized in selected cases of new faculty members and staff according to the following set of criteria:

  1. Payment must be essential for competitive recruitment purposes only, and not for general application.
  2. Moving expenses may only be paid for faculty and staff normally recruited through regional or national search processes.
  3. Moving expenses over $10,000 need approval of the respective dean or vice president.
  4. The offer letter to a new employee should specify the maximum moving expense reimbursement that the University will pay and the related tax implications to the employee.

Moving expenses may be paid only if they meet the distance requirements as defined by the IRS listed above. (The employee’s overall commute from his/her previous residence to his/her new job must be at least 50 miles greater than the commute from his/her previous residence to his/her previous job.)

Expenses eligible for reimbursement include all expenses identified as reimbursable by the IRS, as well as others deemed reimbursable by the University.

This includes but is not limited to:

  1. House-Hunting Expenses - This includes all expenses related to travel for the employee and immediate family (taxable) for up to two trips.
  2. Travel and in-transit costs - Includes cost of transportation, lodging for the employee, and immediate family living at home (not taxable). Reimbursement of meals en route is taxable. For this move, only one trip from the prior residence is to be included in the reimbursement. In addition, if the family moves by motor vehicle, the number of days is to be limited to those required, assuming 500 miles per day.  Mileage will be reimbursed using the standard mileage rate for moving that is determined by the IRS annually. The WSU published rates are available on the TravelWayne website.
  3. Temporary Living Expenses - Expenses incurred for temporary living arrangements while relocating near the university (taxable) for up to 3 months after date of hire but only if specifically approved by the vice president.
  4. Moving of Household and Personal Effects - Includes actual costs of packing, transporting, unpacking household effects; in-transit storage costs; insurance; and moving household pets (not taxable).
  5. A reasonable cost for storage of household goods may be included for up to 30 days. If this storage occurs beyond the first 30 days subsequent to employment, reimbursement of such storage cost is a taxable item.

Note: The amount and type of reimbursement, for travel and meal expenses for the above trips, are to adhere to the guidelines (daily meal maximum, coach fare for airlines, etc.,) as outlined in APPM section 7.1 Travel Expense Policies and Procedures.

If desired, the movement of household goods may be coordinated through the (PASS) Department via the normal purchase order process. The PASS Department has a strategic supplier to supply moving services. The new hire should coordinate a home walk through withthe strategic supplier in order for them to provide a binding quote, upon which one strategic supplier will email the binding quote to the new hire, Business Office and PASS.

Alternatively, the new hire may choose to arrange the move without using the University Partner, may pay a commercial carrier/truck rental company directly, and subsequently request reimbursement from the University.

If the new hire elects to coordinate the movement of household goods independently and he/she has an economic hardship, one advance may be requested by the dean/director to cover up to 90% of the approved reimbursable cost of the personal moving expenses. Subsequently, if the new hire does not join the University for any reason, the department will be held responsible for the advance in cases of non-collection from the new hire. Such advances will be written off to the department via an internal journal voucher. If an advance is issued, the full amount of the reimbursement (net of the advance) is to be processed in a single transaction.

If the new hire elects to coordinate their relocation through a specialist other than the University Partner, the University will not issue a purchase order and the reimbursement process is the only option available to the new hire.

Items which may not be reimbursed include:

  1. Moving expenses for special items, such as livestock, boats, recreational vehicles and major hobby equipment items.
  2. Living and commuting expenses, other than indicated above, subsequent to commencement of employment.

When the new hire's spouse moves simultaneously to another area employer, all moving expenses are to be prorated if reimbursement from the other employer is forthcoming.

Adequate budget must exist within the department to cover the moving expenses. With approval from the dean, director, vice president or the president, budget for the moving expenses might be provided by the School/College/Division within the budget under their control. In those cases, the budget should be transferred to the department so the cost can be charged there.

Except for the option of the movement of household goods via purchase order, all expenses are to be paid directly by the employee who will then be reimbursed by the University.

Processing Payments for Moving Expenses

In order to process payments for expenses associated with the reimbursement of moving expenses, the unit should follow regular university procedures as outlined below.  Payments can be made using one of two methods:

PROCEDURES

Responsibility

Action

Department

 

  1. If the move was coordinated through the University’s designated vendor for moving, establish a purchase order against the appropriate funds.  Upon completion of the move, process invoices against the purchase order to generate payment to the vendor.
  2. If the move was coordinated by the new hire and the designated vendor was not used, reimburse the new hire utilizing the Direct Payment. Request process (Refer to resources available at http://purchasing.wayne.edu/waynebuy/training.php). All reimbursements must be accompanied by adequate receipts supporting the expenses, in accordance with established expense guidelines.  

 

SCOPE

  This policy covers all employees eligible for personal moving expenses.