Travel Services Employee Relocations

WARNING: State moves are not advised now that all relocation expenses are taxable. When WSU pays the vendor directly the employee will see a significant reduction in their pay for the cycle(s) the taxable expenses are reported as income, which is due to the withholdings associated with the relocation payment. With self-moves and lump sum payments the employee receives the increase in income at the same time as the withholdings and does not feel the impact of reduced pay.

Eligible Employees

The University may pay relocation expenses for employees hired for the following types of positions:

  • Permanent executive, professional, or administrative personnel in supervisory positions. (SAAM 60.10.30)
  • Permanent faculty. (SAAM 60.10.30)
  • Temporary faculty if the position is supported by sponsored funds and the sponsor agrees to pay relocation expenses.

When there is an inability to fill a critical lower level position, the University may pay moving expenses. In such a case, the employing department is responsible for preparing and retaining justification. Contact Purchasing for specific requirements. (SAAM 60.10.30)

Taxable Expenses

Per the new tax reform, effective 1/1/2018, all relocation expenses are taxable. This includes lump sum relocation allowances, State moves, self-moves, and travel expenses related to the relocation (i.e. lodging, meals, airfare, etc.). In addition, the following expenses are also taxable:

  • House hunting trips prior to move: Travel expenses, e.g., transportation including airfare, auto rental, mileage, meals, and lodging for the new hire.
  • Costs for maintaining a temporary residence in the area of the new job. Includes lodging at the new location.
  • Storage charges.

The employing department must process a Relocation Expense Request form to to be included with the request for payment of the relocation expenses.

Source of Funds

There are certain relocation expenses that are not allowable on state appropriated funding. The following expenses must be paid from 17A (discretionary) accounts only:

  • All expenses incurred during house hunting trips;
  • Meals for spouse and/or dependents;
  • Lodging that exceeds the total of the applicable maximum daily lodging rates for one person;
  • Expenses related to driving or transporting more than two personal motor vehicles from the old residence to the new residence; and
  • Storage costs in excess of 90 days.

Processing Reimbursements

All relocation expense reimbursements are processed by Travel Services and reported to Payroll Services for proper taxation of the expenses. The amount submitted to Payroll Services will be reported as taxable income, with the amount withheld on the employee’s paycheck being dependent on the allowances claimed on their W-4.

All lump sum payments, either relocation allowances or incentive based payments, will be processed by Payroll Services. The amount will be added as income to the employee’s paycheck with the applicable payroll tax withholdings deducted.

Airfare Purchased on CTA

All airfare purchased for employee relocations or house hunting trips must be reported on the Relocation Expense Request form and routed to Travel Services. These expenses need to be coded to 04EB in order to properly account for the relocation costs WSU incurs in the year. Departments are solely responsible for ensuring these costs are identified and reported as required.