It's time to get paid! You've taken a lot upon yourself: planned, packed, loaded, traveled, unloaded and unpacked. It's time to finish up your move by claiming your reimbursement from the government.
You must submit the following in order to receive your reimbursement:
- The documents provided by the TMO/JPPSO at your old duty station
- Weight tickets
- Expense receipts
- Official orders, etc.
- Any other documents specified when you set up your DITY Move
The exact process depends on your branch of service. Follow the instructions you were given at your old duty station when you arranged your DITY Move. You may be required to mail your forms in to a central office for processing, or you may be required to visit the TMO/JPPSO at your new duty station followed by a visit to the finance office.
Whatever the process, make sure you have all of your forms in order. If you're not mailing your claim to a central office, expect the local TMO/JPPSO to verify your weight tickets and finish up the form provided to you at your old duty station. Some installations may then send the paperwork to finance for you, others will require you to submit the forms to the finance office yourself. Make sure you understand your part in this. If you have to walk the form to finance, expect that they will ask you to fill out more forms to receive your reimbursement.
Don't forget your weight tickets! You MUST have both full and empty weight tickets. Unfortunately, notarized letters certifying the empty weight of a vehicle or container will not be accepted. The government will require that the tickets be from a certified scale. They will also require some information be added to the tickets, most notably a stamp and signature from the weighmaster. Without all the proper annotations on the weight tickets, they will be rejected by the government and you'll receive no reimbursement. Check with your local TMO/JPPSO for the complete details.
It's important to understand how expenses affect your reimbursement:
- The government will pay you an amount based on the amount of weight you moved and the distance you moved it. Your expenses will not alter this amount.
- Your expenses will alter the amount of your reimbursement that is subject to federal tax.
- A fictitious example:
- A government employee moves their own goods themselves. The weight of their goods and the distance moved work out to a $5,000 reimbursement from the government.
- The employee submits receipts for expenses amounting to $3,000.
- The difference between the two amounts ($2,000) is the amount that is subject to federal tax. 28% of the $2000 ($560) is kept by the government as withholding.
- The payment to the employee will be equal to the total reimbursement ($5,000) minus the government withholding ($560). The employee receives $4440.
- Depending on your tax situation, you may or may not get the withheld amount back on your next federal tax return.
- This example is based on the process as of this writing. Please confirm the specifics with your TMO/JPPSO.
A couple of hints when tax time comes around:
- You must properly determine who paid for your moving expenses to avoid losing money when you do your taxes. This can add up to hundreds of dollars.
- If the government made payments directly to the truck rental company or other companies involved in your move, then they covered the expenses.
- If you made the payments to the truck rental company or other companies involved in your move, then you covered the expenses, even though the government reimbursed you.
- Typically, the amount that you reported to the government as expenses will show up in Box 12 on your W-2 with a code "P" to indicate that it should be excluded.
- In some tax programs, you will be presented with the question "Did you have moving expenses that were not covered by the government?" or something similar. If you have an amount in Box 12 with the "P" code, our experience indicates that you should answer "YES". This will prevent the program from erroneously increasing your taxable income by the amount of your expenses.
- Your moving expenses will typically be equal to the amount in Box 12 unless you've determined that you reported an inaccurate amount to the finance office when you filed for reimbursement.
- Always consult a tax professional if you have doubts about properly completing your taxes.
- Don't forget that a DITY/Personally Procured Move move may generate a separate W-2 form for that calendar year. Sending your taxes without all of your W-2's can create a hassle.
- The finance office typically returns your expense receipts to you. Don't discard them. In the event that you are selected for an IRS audit, you will need them.
- Weight tickets should be marked with certain information as directed by the TMO/JPPSO.
- Ask questions before leaving your old duty station so you know what to expect when filing for reimbursement and who to contact if you have questions during the process.