Corporate Travel, Living and Incidentals 

Your employer will compensate you for some or all of your travel and living expenses, depending on the relocation policy you were given. Because the IRS deems move expenses as personal income, the cost of travel, living and incidentals must be reimbursed to you as a taxable expense (see Taxes and Relocation). If you are lucky, your employer may provide a Lump-sum payment to help you avoid arduous record keeping.

  • Home finding trips: up to two trips to the new work location are normally reimbursed for the employee and one other family member to look for new housing. The standard maximum time allowed to complete the trips usually does not exceed 10 days in total. Expenses are usually limited to travel, lodging, meals and minor incidentals. Before taking your trips, be sure to follow the ‘bulls eye’ approach in the Destination Assessment section to help you zero in on a good location.
  • Temporary living: living expenses for the employee are provided during the period of time that he or she needs to work in the new location, but before the move takes place. This reimbursement is meant to offset duplicate living expenses incurred while still being responsible for payments on a home in the old location. Expenses are not normally extended to other family members and are limited lodging, meals and minor incidentals.

  • Final Travel to new location: reimbursement is provided for each immediate family member to make one final trip to the new location. This is a common benefit provision because the Internal Revenue Service specifically calls it out as a deductible expense. Expenses are usually limited to travel and one night of lodging, meals and minor incidentals. 

  • Incidental allowance: a fixed sum of money is often given (non-reimbursement) to pay for expenses that are not covered elsewhere in policy. It is typically used to pay for items like auto registrations, licenses, auto lease cancellations, draperies and other miscellaneous expenses. Allowances usually range from a few hundred to five thousand dollars. Any unused amount does not normally need to be repaid to the company.

  • Lump-sum expense payment: many companies have turned to providing a lump-sum payment in lieu of reimbursing other expenses. This type of allowance is designed to reduce administrative burdens, while providing the employee with flexibility, and an incentive to move efficiently. Expenses normally included in the payment encompass all of the benefits above, however some companies use it as a catchall for all expenses. Calculations that make up the payment are usually specific and thorough, taking into account family size, actual airfare, cost of living and more.

Move Lingo

Definitions and Acronyms


Valuation: Move insurance for your household goods

Realtor:    A Broker who subscribes to the Realtor network

MLS:         Multiple Listing Service: proprietary real estate listing database


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The 3 Phases of a Successful Move


1] Properly research the new destination before you decide to move. Understand your financial and social impact to you, and download the free assessment form. Stressed Out by Moving


2] Learn about each step of the move process to get your move started in an organized way.


3] Manage transition and stress from the very beginning. Each family member needs to be fully engaged throughout the entire move to properly assimilate into their new environment.