Human Resources Policies

HR104 Payment for Relocation Expenses

Policy Status: 

Under Review

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Human Resources


PLEASE NOTE: Due to changes to the federal tax law, all moving expenses incurred on or after January 1, 2018 that are paid or reimbursed by the University will be taxable to employees. There are no longer non-taxable payments for relocation expenses under the law. As such, all University paid or reimbursed moving expenses will be reported as taxable income and subject to University payroll tax withholding.



The University may pay for relocation expenses of a newly hired faculty and staff member accepting a position with the University, or a present faculty and staff member who relocates within the University from one University geographic location to another (e.g. from one campus location to another). This policy does not apply to temporary assignments. Costs of moving office or lab equipment for faculty or staff also do not fall under this policy; they are considered to be business expenses.


Approval by the Dean or senior executive (budget executive) of the employing college or unit is required prior to making commitments to pay for relocation expenses. Management should consult with their human resources and financial representatives (financial officer) when considering reimbursement of relocation expenses in consideration of the total compensation package. The maximum allowable payments and/or reimbursements are outlined below; individual colleges and units may authorize full or partial reimbursement up to the maximum allowable indicated in this policy. Authorized relocation expenses should be documented within the employment offer letter, clearly noting any maximum allowable amounts by category as shown in the chart below.

Relocation costs that will be covered by government contracts, or other funding that has additional requirements for reimbursement, must follow the guidelines of those contracts and/or funding sources. The maximum allowable expense payments shown below, and required approvals, will still apply; however, documentation of expenses (receipts) and/or further delineation of costs by specific category may be implemented to comply with additional contract/funding requirements.

Relocation payments and/or reimbursements will be taxed in accordance with IRS guidelines; however, any lump sum payments provided for expenses not requiring receipts will be taxed as regular income. Any requests for exceptions to this policy must be made in writing and will require the approval of the Sr. Vice President for Finance and Business or Executive Vice President and Provost or their designees.


* Employees covered by government contracts or other funding that has additional requirements may not be covered by all of the provisions in the table below. Please refer to paragraph 2 above in the section entitled “Authorization of Relocation Expenses”. Questions should be referred to the unit’s Human Resources representative.

Eligible Reimbursement Expenses
Relocation Expense Tax Impact Maximum Allowable Recommended Process
Transportation of Household Goods and Personal Effects (limitations on high-cost items e.g. boats, multiple cars, etc.) Non-Taxable, but reported on W-2 Reimbursement for actual costs incurred up to $15,000; higher amount may be authorized if contracted by Purchasing Services (with appropriate review by Financial Officer)
  1. Purchasing Services contacted to establish purchase order with contract carrier to pay either full or partial cost (maximum reimbursement established that may be less than actual cost)

  2. Employee may be reimbursed based upon receipts if cost is $15,000 or less.

Travel Costs for Moving People Non-Taxable, but reported on W-2 Transportation, lodging, and meals, during move. Mileage payable at the current published federal government mileage rate for moving expenses, and reimbursement only for a reasonable number of days based on distance of move.
  1. Employee expenses may be direct-billed if University makes arrangements

  2. Employee may make arrangements and submit receipts for reimbursement through ERS
All Other relocation expenses Taxable and paid as regular income (additional salary) Maximum payment of one month’s salary (one-twelfth of the employee’s annual salary rate or one-ninth of a University-year salary rate for those on 36-week appointments) Payment will be through a single payment through Payroll after the employee’s official start date and will be considered compensation with appropriate tax and benefit withholding.


Arrangements for moving employees when the University will provide for the total move shall be coordinated through Purchasing Services by calling the appropriate buyer. Purchasing Services will obtain estimates or give instructions to proceed with the move through University-approved vendors under contract. A Purchase Order will then be sent to the acceptable vendor.When the University will provide a set amount to be applied to moving expenses that is less than the cost of the total move, Purchasing Services may be used to obtain University contract pricing. A Purchase Order will be issued specifying the dollar limit the University will cover, and instructions to the vendor that any remaining balance must be collected from the individual being moved.When the University will provide a set amount of moving expenses and a contract carrier will not be used, the University will reimburse the set amount to the employee.


Authorized payment or reimbursement shall be funded by the applicable college or department. Whenever possible, payment or reimbursement should be provided from unrestricted donor funds.


Information on the procedure for reporting moving expense reimbursement/compensation is available from your financial officer. Reimbursement for moving household items and people requires appropriate receipts except for meals and personal mileage. Lump sum payments are subject to taxation per IRS guidelines and will be paid as compensation through payroll with appropriate withholding.

Date Published: 

June 14, 2016

Effective Date: 

June 14, 2016