With the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), the U of I is required to modify its practice with respect to providing tax-free reimbursements of qualified moving expenses. Due to this change in federal law, moving expenses incurred by employees during calendar years 2018 through 2026 will be treated as wages and paid through the HR Transaction system as extra compensation.
Department heads (or designees) may authorize payment of reasonable moving and relocation expenses for new faculty and staff members as part of an offer of employment. Authorization for payment of moving expenses above $3,500 requires approval from the appropriate dean/vice president (or designee). (See also III-9 Hiring and Appointments; BRPM 2.1.4Q.)
Payment may be authorized for full-time faculty and institutional officials, professional and scientific and other full-time employees who are comparable in rank to assistant professor (P&S pay level 5) or above. Relocation expenses for full-time employees not defined above may be granted by specific approval of the appropriate dean/director or their designee. Local moves (less than 50 miles) for current employees or employees new to the University are ineligible. Relocation expenses should be determined with the new faculty or staff member during the hiring process and the amount must be included in the candidate’s accepted offer letter or amended offer letter (does not require signatures).
For contact information for the University’s preferred vendor, please see the Household Relocation Services website. Please note that the moving contract will be between the employee and the vendor. The employee must work directly with the preferred vendor and identify that they are joining the University of Iowa. Employees may also select other vendors at their discretion.
Payments must be paid through the HR Transaction system as special compensation under the category of “Employment Agreement – Transition and Relocation”. The offer letter is a required attachment to the transition and relocation payment request. Payments may occur upon the first day of employment of a regular appointment or upon the first day of services related to a short term appointment which precedes and is related to a regular appointment. Departments may request that Payroll Services issue an off-cycle check to expedite payment. The special compensation amount may be equal to actual expenses or a lump sum payment. If the department wishes to pay for actual expenses, a maximum amount should be defined in the offer letter and the department is responsible for reviewing receipts. The department may elect to separate house hunting trips, moving expenses and relocation incentives into multiple payments if stated in the offer letter.
Questions may be directed to email@example.com.
1. What is included in the transition and relocation payment?
A: The purpose of the transition and relocation payment is to incent and support a faculty or staff member to move to the area to join the University of Iowa. The payment should include the amount that the College/Org is willing to provide the individual in moving to the area as well as one post-offer house hunting trip. If the moving expense compensation is to be paid separately from the house hunting trip, two special compensation payments should be created and processed in the transaction system. The offer letter should be attached to both transactions and should include language detailing the amount of compensation for each payment.
2. How should reimbursement be processed for a recruitment meeting/trip prior to the job offer?
A: Pre-offer recruitment meeting/trips should continue to be reimbursed through a travel expense voucher (TEV) and processed by University Shared Services (USS) or your normal TEV processor. Regular USS guidelines and TEV policies apply for this reimbursement.
3. How should we reimburse for post-offer business meetings with the candidate?
A: If the primary purpose of the trip is business related, travel expenses may be reimbursed using a TEV. An itinerary of their visit, including all meetings, is a required attachment to the request for reimbursement. USS guidelines and TEV policies apply for this reimbursement.
4. Does the relocation and transition payment(s) need to be included in the offer letter?
A: Yes – a transition and relocation request for payment will not be approved post-org if the attached offer letter does not include language relating to compensation of moving/relocation expenses. If the original offer letter did not include language related to moving and relocation compensation, an amended offer letter will need to be completed.