Tax bills for 2018 moving benefits are headed for federal civilian employees’ mailboxes

A mover takes a family's possessions from base housing at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, on Nov. 13, 2019. CHRISTIAN LOPEZ/STARS AND STRIPES
A mover takes a family's possessions from base housing at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, on Nov. 13, 2019. CHRISTIAN LOPEZ/STARS AND STRIPES

Tax bills for 2018 moving benefits are headed for federal civilian employees’ mailboxes

by Caitlin Doornbos
Stars and Stripes

Just before the holidays, Mo Bak, an engineer for the federal government, received a letter demanding $1,600 to reimburse the Defense Department for taxes it paid to move her for her job.

She’d relocated with her two children in 2019 from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to Yokota Air Base, both in Japan. The bill covered taxes on the costs to ship her property about 525 miles from one base to the other.

“(I) honestly didn’t think it was going to be such a huge amount — and this was just on a move in-country,” Bak said. “If I was coming from the states it would be even more insane.”

Bak, like hundreds of other federal employees hired after Jan. 1, 2018, was caught by a change in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that did away with a deduction for moving expenses, including what the government spent to move its own employees. That money instead was redefined as taxable income.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.613010

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