9.14 Relocation Policy for New Employees

9.14 Relocation Policy for New Employees

Last Updated
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 11:33 am


This policy will be revised to adapt to the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (Public Law PL 115-97), which require employee relocation expenses to be taxable to recipients effective January 1, 2018.

Purpose To provide guidelines and restrictions regarding those cases where relocation costs are necessary for an individual to accept employment with the University and to reimburse the new employee for allowable relocation expenses consistent with good business practices and budgetary limitations.
Policy Owner: Provost
Related Manual: Guide to Successful Searches

General Policy StatementsFunding RestrictionsReimbursable Expenses | Other Provisions

General Policy Statements

  1. The University of Arizona may, in exceptional cases, at its discretion, pay for certain costs directly related to relocation when providing a moving allowance is necessary for an individual to accept employment with the University. Moving allowances must be negotiated at the time of offering a position and included in the offer letter.
  2. Moving allowances are subject to the terms consistent with the provisions outlined in this policy. If a moving allowance was not contained in the offer letter, prepare a letter of justification and obtain the Provost's signature.
  3. This policy applies to all moves regardless of the dollar amount or source of funds. Any exception to this policy must be approved in advance by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost for employees in academic units, or by the Senior Vice President for Business Affairs for employees in Business Affairs units.
  4. The University has established pricing agreements with national moving companies which provide many benefits and substantial discounts to the new employee. The Preferred Booking Agents should be contacted to facilitate and obtain a “not-to-exceed” estimate for their relocation. The new employee should contract for his or her own move. The University will reimburse the employee up to the amount agreed to in the employment offer. The move itself is solely the responsibility of the new employee. The contract for the move, along with any problems that may result from the move, is between the employee and the moving company. The University's only involvement is the reimbursement to the employee or payment to the vendor. The new employee must handle any and all claims.
  5. Competitive bidding is not required if the moving expenses do not exceed $10,000. If the expenses exceed $10,000 then a minimum of 3 written estimates must be obtained by the new employee. The Preferred Booking Agents should be used for these estimates due to their knowledge of the agreements with the University. Written justification must accompany the estimates if the desired agent does not have the lowest estimate. Please contact Purchasing (621-1747) for additional information, including a request for an exception to the bidding requirement.
    NOTE: The new employee is encouraged to contact one or more of the national moving companies having discount agreements with the University in order to facilitate and obtain a "not-to-exceed" quotation for their relocation. These agreements have been established to provide relocation assistance for the new employee and to reduce costs to the University. For additional information or assistance contact Purchasing at 621-1747.
  6. To request expense reimbursement,
    1. Attach original itemized receipts to the Disbursement Voucher. If the employee needs the original receipts they may bring the original receipts to the Accounts Payable office to be stamped with the amount they are being reimbursed by the University of Arizona. A copy will be made of the stamped receipt and attached to the Disbursement Voucher.
    2. Retain the signed offer letter in the department. When required, the department is responsible for supplying this documentation.
    3. For additional assistance or information, contact your fund accountant.
  7. Relocation reimbursements will be reported annually by the University to the IRS and will be reported on the employee's W-2. For additional information, refer to paragraphs 14-15.

Funding restrictions

  1. Sponsored project accounts: Relocation costs are generally not allocable as direct charges to sponsored project accounts. Exceptions are rare and require justification of the exceptional circumstances. Check the regulations for your funding agency, as most funding agencies do not allow relocation costs as direct charges to the sponsored project account.
  2. State Accounts: Relocation expense may NOT be paid from state appropriated funds if the relocation is from outside the State of Arizona.
  3. If you have any questions regarding funding, contact your fund accountant.

Reimbursable Expenses

  1. Relocation expenses which are reimbursable either directly to the individual and/or to an outside moving company may include, but are not limited to the following:
    1. For employees and their immediate family members traveling by air or other passenger conveyance, the cost of the most economical airfare available for each member of the immediate family.
    2. For employees and their immediate family members traveling by automobile:
      1. The cost of driving an automobile by the most direct route between the previous residence and the new permanent residence. Mileage is reimbursed at the current rate approved for University travel.
      2. If an individual is required to begin University employment prior to the relocation of his/her immediate family, that employee may be allowed reimbursement for either (1) the cost of a round-trip airline ticket at the most economical airfare available, or (2) the costs of traveling by automobile as defined above in addition to relocation expenses for his/her family.
    3. Lodging and meal expenses (meals will be taxable):  actual reasonable expenses for room, meal and tax using the most direct route between the previous residence and the new permanent residence.  Expenses must be substantiated with detailed payment receipts.
    4. The cost of moving household goods.
    5. The cost of insurance for household goods, not to exceed the full replacement value. 
    6. Packing of household goods and appliances; appliance disconnect and hookups.

Other Provisions

  1. Expenses of the employee and/or his/her immediate family incurred after arriving at the principal site of employment are the responsibility of the employee.
  2. All relocation reimbursements will be reported on the employee's W2. Expenses considered qualified by the IRS will be shown as informational only. Expenses considered nonqualified by the IRS will be considered taxable income and will have taxes withheld in the earliest pay periods available. The tax withheld will be split between four pay periods if possible.
  3. Qualified moving expenses are expenses incurred within one year from the date the employee first reports to work and include:
    1. Moving your household goods and personal effects.
    2. Traveling by the shortest, most direct route available by conventional transportation. Any side trips would not be qualified.
    3. Lodging while traveling, including expenses the day you arrive.
    4. Travel by car-either:
      1. Actual expenses, such as, gas and oil, with accurate records. Parking fees and tolls are allowed, but general repairs and maintenance, insurance and depreciation are not allowed, or
      2. 23.5 cents a mile. Since the University of Arizona pays mileage at the rate established in section 14.15, the amount over 23.5 cents per mile is considered nonqualified and will be taxed.
    5. You are allowed expenses for members of your household. A member of your household is anyone who has both your former and new home as his or her home.
    6. You are allowed only one trip to your new home for yourself and the members of your household, however, you do not have to travel together.
  4. Nonqualified moving expenses include, but are not limited to:
    1. Meals
    2. Vehicle maintenance
    3. Living expenses after arriving at your destination
    4. Mileage over 23.5 cents. 
    5. Pre-move house hunting expenses. This is any trip to the University of Arizona after you have been offered a position, whether or not you have accepted the position, but before you move to the University of Arizona. The initial trip to interview, before you have been offered the position, is a business expense and is not taxable. The final trip to actually move is qualified and not taxed, except for expenses, including but not limited to those listed above, that are not allowed by the IRS.