CHICAGO, April 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Did you know you may be able to write off resume paper and travel to job interviews? How about steel-toe boots for work and home office furniture? A new nationwide study from Liberty Tax Service and CareerBuilder found a significant number of U.S. workers may not be maximizing their tax refunds with only one-in-five (20 percent) reporting they have claimed work-related expenses on their taxes. Only 7 percent have claimed job search expenses. The national study, conducted by Harris Interactive© from February 9 to March 2, 2012, included 6,000 workers across industries and company sizes.
Eligible Job Search Expenses
When asked if they thought certain job search expenses would qualify for tax refunds, at least three-out-of-four workers were not aware that you may be able to claim professional resume-writing services and resume paper. While more than half didn't know travel to and from job interviews may be claimed, the majority of workers were aware that costs associated with relocating for a job may be tax deductible.
Number of workers who didn't know you could potentially claim the following job search expenses:
- Professional resume-writing service – 78 percent
- Resume paper – 84 percent
- Travel (parking, tolls) to and from job interviews – 57 percent
- Relocation to another city or state for a job (moving trucks, travel, temporary housing, etc) – 38 percent
"Documenting the costs of a job search may deliver a tax break whether it results in a new position or not. Job search expenses may be deductible when, totaled with employee expenses and other miscellaneous deductions, they exceed 2 percent of adjusted gross income," said John Hewitt, CEO of Liberty Tax Service.
Eligible Work Expenses
While most workers understood uniforms, safety gear and home office equipment or phone/Internet service may be tax deductible, at least half were not aware certain travel expenses and home office furniture could potentially be claimed depending on one's work situation.
Number of workers who didn't know you may be able to claim the following work expenses:
- Uniforms – 37 percent
- Steel-toe boots for work – 42 percent
- Safety glasses for work – 44 percent
- Travel to see clients – 50 percent
- Travel to work at different locations – 53 percent
- Home office equipment – 38 percent
- Home office phone/Internet services – 40 percent
- Home office furniture – 59 percent
"Home office expenses may be claimed if you exclusively and regularly use your home office as your principal place of business and/or meet other requirements. It's important to be aware of the criteria for any eligible work-related expense, so you can appropriately maximize your return," said Hewitt.
Eligible Education Expenses
Continued education is another area workers can often overlook when filing their taxes. Just one-in-five (23 percent) have claimed their education expenses on their tax return and more than half (55 percent) were not aware that going back to school for new skills in their current occupation may be tax deductible.
"With so many workers transitioning to faster-growing industries post-recession, we see greater investments in acquiring new degrees and certifications," said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. "If you're not researching which educational or career-related expenses are tax deductible, you could be leaving money on the table."
More than half of workers (58 percent) file their taxes in January or February, 28 percent typically file in March and 14 percent file in April or later.
How will workers spend their tax refunds?
Most plan to pay off debt or put the money into savings.
- Pay off bills – 41 percent
- Put into savings – 34 percent
- Make home improvements – 11 percent
- Go on vacation – 9 percent
- Invest it – 7 percent
- Pay back money they owe to people – 5 percent
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder and Liberty Tax Service among 6,000 U.S. workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, government and non-government) between February 9 and March 2, 2012 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 6,000, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.27 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.
About Liberty Tax Service
Liberty Tax Service is the fastest growing retail tax preparation company in the industry's history, with over 4,200 offices in the United States and Canada. Founded by CEO John T. Hewitt, Liberty Tax Service has prepared over 9,000,000 individual income tax returns. With 42 years of tax industry experience, Hewitt stands as the most experienced CEO in the tax preparation business, having also founded Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. Each office provides computerized income tax preparation, electronic filing, and online filing through eSmart Tax. Liberty Tax Service has been ranked on Entrepreneur magazine's annual "Franchise 500" every year since 1998.
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset - their people. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 45 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world's top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and data analysis to recruitment support. More than 10,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder's proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.
Liberty Tax Service
Martha O'Gorman, Chief Marketing Officer
(800) 790-3863 ext. 8022
SOURCE CareerBuilder; Liberty Tax Service