UNC Charlotte Moving Allowance Procedures

Overview

As of January 1, 2018, moving expense reimbursements are fully taxable. This is a result of the federal tax reform bill signed into law on December 22, 2017.

Provisions

Expenses covered and documentation

  • Because moving allowances are now fully taxable, no supporting documentation or receipts are needed when submitting a moving allowance request under $10,000.
    • For all moving allowance requests of $10,000 or more, the amount is limited to the moving-related expenses actually incurred, supported by receipts. 
    • It is recommended to request and keep moving expense documentation when exception amounts are being requested to support fairness among amounts paid to new employees.
  • Payment for all “moving-related expenses” (see definition below) is the responsibility of the employee.
  • The moving allowance is a taxable lump sum payment, intended to offset some of the employee’s moving-related costs at the discretion of the hiring department. Recipients should expect approximately 35% in taxes to be withheld from their moving allowance. 

No moving-related expenses can be paid directly to an employee or to a vendor (e.g., via p-card, 49er Mart, or DPR) outside of the Moving Allowance Form.

  • We urge departments to avoid paying for any moving-related expenses outside of the Moving Allowance Form, as doing so creates unfavorable taxable consequences for the employee.
  • If moving expenses are found to have been paid for an employee’s benefit via p-card or 49er Mart (or otherwise outside of the Moving Allowance Form), the expense will need to be added to the employee’s wages after-the-fact. The employee will be responsible for related federal and state income and FICA tax withholdings (which will be deducted from the employee’s regular pay) unless the department chooses to gross up the payment (use the gross-up calculation form).

“Moving-related expenses” includes those related to house hunting, moving truck rentals, hiring of moving companies, costs for shipping household items and related supplies, costs to store household items before or during the move, costs to ship household pets, mileage incurred during the move, other move-related costs such as connecting/disconnecting utilities, and temporary living arrangements.

  • Moving-related expenses do not include those incurred for job candidates during recruitment (e.g., during on-campus interviews). See the Travel Manual for further information about recruitment related reimbursements.

Fund Source

Only Discretionary Funds may be used for moving allowances.

Eligibility

  • Moving allowances are available for full-time, permanent positions.
  • Eligible employees will be moving from outside a 100-mile radius of the Greater Charlotte area.
  • Moving allowances must be paid within the first year of employment.
  • Exceptions require pre-approval.

Standard Allowance Levels

Faculty

Departments can submit a total allowance up to the following to be funded via central AABP resources:

  • Assistant/Associate Professor: up to $3,000
  • Full Professor or SAAO Tier II faculty/administrator: up to $5,000
  • Faculty administrator SAAO Tier I: up to $7,000 or above, as negotiated/approved
  • These standard amounts represent the availability of central Academic Affairs discretionary funds for moving expense allowances. Exceptions to these levels require email pre-approval by the Senior Associate Provost.
  • Exceptions: If a department wishes to contribute additional discretionary funds for an allowance, and departmental/College discretionary budget is available, please indicate this on the Moving Allowance Form. Any allowance requests of $10,000 or more must be substantiated by receipts that show actual moving-related expenses incurred by the employee.  
  • Additional note: Moving allowances are not considered "special pay subject to the "3/9ths" rule for 9-month faculty.
EHRA/SHRA Non-Faculty Staff

Departments can submit a total allowance up to the following, contingent upon the availability of departmental discretionary funds:

  • Athletic Coaches: up to 10% of base salary
  • Vice Chancellors: up to $12,000
  • Associate Vice Chancellors: up to $10,000
  • Department Heads: up to $7,000
  • FLSA Exempt Professional Staff: up to $4,000
  • Other employees:  Contact the Human Resources Department for guidance
  • Exceptions: Any allowance exceeding the above levels for staff need to be submitted to the Human Resources Department with a justification prior to the allowance being offered to the employee.
  • Any allowance requests of $10,000 or more must be substantiated by receipts that show actual moving-related expenses incurred by the employee. 

Discontinuation of Employment

Employees that leave University employment prior to 90 days must reimburse the University 100% of any allowance received (gross, not net of taxes). Should an employee voluntarily leave University employment within one year of hire for a position other than a promotion within North Carolina state government, they may be required to reimburse the University for a prorated portion of the allowance. The employee should work with the hiring department to determine the amount to be repaid. No tax withholding or reporting adjustments will be made by the Payroll Office. Repayment should be made directly to the department outside of the payroll system.

Procedures

  1. To request a moving allowance for a new employee, your department or college's business support staff should complete this Moving Allowance Form. Note that employees to be receiving a moving allowance should NOT complete this form for themselves.
    • If receipts are required, please submit the Moving Allowance Form and then add the attachments directly in the Imaging system (instructions here; you can also ask the approver of the form to add the attachments via these instructions).
  2. Once approved, the Office of Academic Affairs Budget and Personnel (AABP) or Human Resources (HR) will route the form directly to Payroll to process on the next available payroll cycle.
    • The moving allowance can be paid on the employee’s first paycheck provided that: 1) all HR hiring process steps are completed so that the employee and their job is established in Banner, and 2) the allowance form has been submitted to Payroll at least two weeks prior to the pay date. Required HR hiring process steps include:
      • Employee’s job is established in Banner (NBAJOBS).
      • Parts 1 & 2 of the Form I-9 are completed, along with other HR related hiring documents; please reference HR’s New Employee Forms webpage.
      • Direct Deposit has been set up by the employee; follow the steps in this FAQ (employee must have their NinerNet credentials first).
      • For new 9-month faculty, if all the above are complete, a moving allowance may be processed earlier than the faculty member’s first payroll distribution (typically end of August). Business support staff submitting the requests should send copies of the completed Form I-9 and attest that direct deposit has been set up, before submitting the Moving Allowance Form. Incomplete paperwork can cause delays in processing.
    • Please allow appropriate time for required approvals.
    • Also, remember that the existence of an 800# does not necessarily mean the employee’s job is established in Banner.

Contacts

Examples

Scenario #1:

A candidate comes to Charlotte for an on-campus interview. The candidate returns home and receives a job offer and accepts it. Subsequently, the candidate returns to Charlotte for a bonafide house hunting trip.

Reimbursement: For the first trip, the candidate may be reimbursed for recruitment-related travel expenses (based on State limit criteria). For the second trip, the employee may not be reimbursed for any expenses related to this trip. Once the candidate is an employee, no expenses incurred are considered recruitment-related expenses; the department can request a moving allowance for the employee to help cover any house hunting and/or moving expenses.

Scenario #2:

A candidate comes to Charlotte for an on-campus interview. The candidate does some house hunting while in Charlotte during this trip but is primarily in Charlotte for the purpose of the interview. The candidate returns home and receives a job offer and accepts it.

Reimbursement: The candidate can be reimbursed for recruitment-related travel expenses (based on State limit criteria), but not for any specific house hunting expenses (including transportation, lodging, and subsistence costs on days not covered under the candidate’s business trip, usually limited to one day before/after the interview). If the department requests a moving allowance for the employee, the department can request an amount that will help cover any house hunting expenses, as well as other moving-related expenses incurred by the employee.

 

Created 2/18

Rev. 5/3/2018, 6/22/18, 6/27/18