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UNM Policy Office

MSC05 3357
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Scholes Hall
114 A and B

Phone: (505) 277-6531

Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 4020: Moving Expenses and Relocation Allowance

Date Originally Issued: 03-01-1991
Revised: 05-19-1995, 07-01-2004, 07-01-2005, 05-22-2006, 02-01-2013, 06-14-2013, 12-01-2016

This policy is currently under review as a result of recent tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  Effective January 1, 2018, all moving and relocation expense reimbursements, whether paid directly to an individual employee or paid indirectly on the employee’s behalf to a third-party vendor, are now considered to be taxable income to the employee.  Consequently, these expenses are required to be reported as income to the employee on Form W-2 in the year the payment is made and subject to applicable tax withholding. 

The information in the policy below pertains to moving and relocation expenses incurred prior to January 1, 2018.  This policy will be updated once the IRS issues official guidance on the tax law changes.

Authorized by RPM 7.4 ("Purchasing")

Process Owner: University Controller and HSC Senior Executive Officer for Finance and Administration

1. General

The University recognizes that payment or reimbursement of some of the costs of new employees relocating to the University of New Mexico may be an important consideration in the recruitment process. Thus, hiring officers may negotiate to reimburse some portion, or pay for all, of the moving expenses for certain new employees. Moving expenses may be paid or reimbursed when the payment is in UNM's interest and benefits the recruitment effort, when funds are available, and when approved in writing by the person who has the budget authority to release funds for such purpose. This may be the President, a vice president, a dean, a director, or a department head. This policy is intended to establish maximum reimbursement levels. Colleges and departments may establish reasonable reimbursement policies that define lower limits. In all cases, the approving authority is urged to use good judgment when authorizing moving expenses.

2. Definitions

"Moving expenses," as used in this policy, means the actual reasonable expenses of transporting household goods, furnishings, and personal effects of the employee and members of the employee’s household, as well as the expenses of packing and crating,  of such goods, and may include a “relocation allowance” (see Section 4.1). "Household goods" is construed to include the employee's professional library and, in some cases, professional collections. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines a “household member” as anyone with the same former and new home as the new UNM employee. Moving expenses may include the reasonable travel expenses of the employee and members of employee’s household one way to the employment location, based on current UNM travel allowances in UAP 4030 ("Travel").  The IRS publishes a standard mileage rate allowed specifically for moving expenses, which can be used in lieu of submitting itemized receipts for fuel costs.  See for the currently allowable mileage rate for moving expenses. All household members are not required to travel together or at the same time; however, expenses for a single one-way trip per person is allowable, and generally must occur within one year of employment. Reimbursement for expenses associated with return trips to the former residence are not allowable as moving expenses. Moving expenses may also include one night’s lodging in the area of the former residence, and one night’s lodging upon arrival at the location of the new home, if this cost is incurred due to the housing not being available for occupancy.  Please refer to the Unrestricted Accounting – Main website for the list of moving expenses that are considered standard, items that require advance approval, and items that are not allowable.

3. Eligible Employees

3.1. This policy pertains to new, full-time employees, including exempt staff; non-temporary faculty; and post-doctoral fellows This policy also applies to faculty members hired into positions that are less than 1.0FTE but not less than 0.5FTE.

3.2. Any employees who fail to fulfill their contract or appointment obligations after having had their moving expenses paid for or reimbursed, are required to repay a prorated portion of their moving expense reimbursement (including any relocation allowances) and any moving expenses paid directly by UNM. For purposes of this policy, a new employee failing to complete twelve (12) months of service at UNM, from the employment start date, shall be assumed to have not fully met the appointment obligation.

3.3. No moving expenses will be paid for or reimbursed to new employees already living less than seventy-five (75) miles from the new employment location.

4. Payment Options

The hiring officer is responsible for informing the applicant of the requirements of this policy, including the payment options available, the type of expenses that may be reimbursed, the required documentation (such as receipts and invoices), and the timeline for when reimbursement can occur. 

The exact amount of, or limitations to, the relocation allowance, direct payment of moving expenses by UNM, or reimbursement to the new employee should be established as part of the "appointment letter," in accordance with this policy. The hiring officer is responsible for identifying the source(s) of funds available to cover the negotiated amount. Agreements to pay in excess of $15,000 must have prior written approval by the cognizant executive vice president or President, as applicable.

4.1. The new employee may elect to have a “Relocation Allowance” paid on the employee’s first payroll distribution, or as soon thereafter as practicable depending on the submission of the request to Payroll, in lieu of requesting reimbursement for actual moving expenses incurred or having UNM pay certain moving expenses directly. A proposed Relocation Allowance Request Form should be included with the submission of the hiring proposal. This contract for a Relocation Allowance should be executed at the time of employment negotiation. This form is available on the Unrestricted Accounting – Main website. The form estimates the tax withholding requirements associated with of the relocation allowance payment.

4.2. The new employee may elect to have moving vendors paid directly by UNM and/or receive reimbursement for the moving expenses incurred.  The relocation allowance and reimbursement options cannot be combined or split.

Payment or reimbursement of moving expenses may be made for the items that are considered standard, and items that received advance approval, as defined on the Unrestricted Accounting – Main website. . For persons relocating from outside the United States, expenses from the nearest port of entry will be allowed.

The hiring officer should submit a New Employee Moving Expense form, located on the Unrestricted Accounting – Main website, and send it to the University Purchasing Department. The Purchasing Department will assist the new employee in making arrangements with UNM's selected interstate carrier. Information about the carrier can be viewed at The Purchasing Department will obtain an estimate from the agent(s), a copy of which will be forwarded to the hiring officer. Upon receipt of the LoboMart requisition, the Purchasing Department will issue a Purchase Order. Invoices will be paid by the University for the amount agreed to in the appointment of the new employee. In the case of partial reimbursement agreements, new employees will be expected to pay the carrier for their portion at the time the University makes payment to the carrier.

To request reimbursement of authorized moving expenses, a request must be submitted in Chrome River Expense. A detailed description of the purpose or function of all expenses being claimed must be included in the request. The dean, director, or department head, or their delegate must approve the request in Chrome River Expense. The department is responsible for informing the new employee of the requirements of this policy, including retaining and submitting documentation to support the expenses being claimed for reimbursement.

4.2.1. Due to Payroll reporting requirements, reimbursements for moving expenses, including pre-move house-hunting expenses, will not be made until after the individual’s employment start date.  Also, to comply with IRS accountable plan requirements, requests for reimbursement of moving expenses, including pre-move house-hunting expenses, will be considered timely if the reimbursement request is submitted in Chrome River and approved by the applicable departmental authority WITHIN 60 DAYS of:

1.      The individual’s employment start date, for expenses incurred prior to the start date, or

2.      The date that the expenses were incurred, for expenses incurred after the individual’s employment start date.

5. Exceptions

5.1. In cases where the moving expenses are being paid by a grant or contract and the provisions of the grant or contract place greater restrictions on the allowances for moving expenses than UNM policy as defined herein, such restrictions shall prevail.

5.2. Other exceptions to this policy must be approved in advance by the cognizant executive vice president or President. These exceptions include but are not limited to pre-move house-hunting expenses, temporary living expenses, and storage of household goods in excess of thirty (30) days.

6. Tax Reporting

The University will provide the employee with the information necessary to make a full accounting to the IRS of all moving expenses paid by the University. IRS Form 4782 will be completed by the Payroll office and distributed to the employee by January 31 of the following year or within thirty (30) days of the date of termination of employment, whichever occurs first. IRS Form 4782 provides a detail of expenses paid directly by the University and reimbursed expenses.  Additional information on the income tax implications of moving expenses can be found in IRS Publication 521-Moving Expenses.  UNM Financial Services staff do not provide personal tax advice.