Moving and Relocation Expenses

Last Updated: January 2017

The University is authorized, depending upon availability of funds, to assist in paying a portion of the moving and travel costs of a new faculty member or administrator.

The State of California and the Trustees of the California State University have issued rules and regulations concerning the procedures for making reimbursement of household moving expenses for a new employee. All claims for reimbursement must be accompanied by itemized receipts for each expenditure processed by the University. Claims for faculty must be approved and signed by the Vice President/Provost for Academic Affairs. Claims for administrators must be approved and signed by the Vice President for Administration.

The University letter of offer indicates the maximum dollar amount which the University may pay toward relocation, moving and travel expenses.

Important Notice Regarding Tax Law Changes for Moving and Relocation Expenses

Effective January 1, 1999, reimbursements for the following expenses are subject to withholding, including Federal income tax (22%), State income tax (6.6%), Medicare (1.45%) and Social Security(6.2%) for a total of 36.25% withholding: The tax reform bill (H.R. 1, P.L. 115-97), which was enacted on December 22, 2017, included a change to the taxability of moving  and relocation expenses. In 2017 and prior years, certain “qualified moving expenses” for new employees were excluded from gross income. PLEASE NOTE: As of January 1, 2018, all moving expenses paid or reimbursed by the CSU are taxable as wages to the recipient. This information will be reported to the State Controller’s Office. The payroll warrant distributed to you, or a subsequent payroll warrant, may have the 36.25% taxes withheld. This will be in addition to your normal payroll withholding.

  • Meals connected with the move;
  • Pre-move house search trips;
  • Temporary living expenses;
  • Leases, unexpired or new;
  • Storage more than 30 days after moving into residence;
  • Mileage reimbursement in excess of the federal moving expense mileage rate (20 cents per mile, new rate effective January 1, 2019).

In addition, any moving expenses reimbursed when either the federal time test or the federal distance test is not satisfied are also subject to withholding. To satisfy the federal time test, an employee must work full time for 39 weeks during the 12 months immediately following the move. To satisfy the federal distance test, an employee's new headquarters must be at least 50 miles farther from the employee's former residence compared to the distance between the former residence and the old headquarters.

Moving & Relocation Expense Policy

To view the Moving & Relocation Policy in its entirety, please see the Updated Moving & Relocation Policy and Updated CSU Internal Procedures Governing Moving and Relocation Expenses HR 2017-15.


A.  Current employees. Whenever a current CSU employee is required by the current appointing authority to change his /her place of residence because of a change in assignment, promotion or other reason related to the employee's duties deemed to be in the best interest of the CSU, such employee shall    receive reimbursement for his/her actual, necessary and reasonable moving and relocation expenses. To qualify for reimbursement, the new primary job location must be at least 50 miles farther from the employee's former home than the old primary job location.

The appointing authority may authorize exceptions to this requirement in cases where it creates unusual and unavoidable hardship for employees.

B.  Initial appointments. An individual who has been offered a position within the CSU by an appointing authority and has accepted such appointment may receive reimbursement for his/her actual, necessary and reasonable moving and relocation expenses. This provision also applies to an employee of a CSU campus who accepts an ongoing assignment at another CSU campus. Moving and relocation expense reimbursements, including monetary thresholds, are authorized by the appointing authority at each campus for new appointees. 

C. Temporary appointments. A current CSU employee who accepts a long-term temporary assignment offered by a CSU appointing authority other than his/her current appointing authority may receive a temporary relocation allowance. To receive consideration for this allowance, the employee's temporary job location must be a least 50 miles farther from the employee's permanent residence than the former job location. (The appointing authority for the temporary assignment may authorize exceptions to this requirement in cases where it creates unusual and unavoidable hardship for temporary employees.) The temporary employee must also maintain a permanent residence in the vicinity of the former job location for the duration of the temporary appointment.

Temporary relocation allowances will not be automatically authorized for every temporary appointee meeting the requirements identified above. The determination of who is to receive such an allowance, and the amount of any such allowance, shall be made by the temporary appointing authority subject to the requirements of these procedures.

D. Reimbursement. Reimbursement of relocation expenses shall be payable from monies made available for such purpose by the appointing authority. In addition, relocation expense incurred by newly-appointed Presidents shall be reimbursed by the appropriate campus.


For the purpose of these procedures, the following definitions will apply:

A.   "Appointing authority" shall mean the Chancellor or campus President, as appropriate.

B.   "Chancellor" and "President" shall include designees.

C.   "Campus" shall include the headquarters office as well as any of the campuses of the CSU.

D.   "Household goods" means personal effects and items used or to be used in the employee's residence necessary for the maintenance of a household.

E.   "Long term temporary assignment" shall normally mean an assignment period of six months or more.

F.   "Employee" refers to either a current CSU employee or an individual who has been offered a position within the CSU by an authorized authority and has accepted such offer.

Reimbursement Expenses for Moving and Relocation

Full or partial reimbursement, within budgetary constraints, may be allowed for the actual and necessary expenses incurred for packing, insurance, transportation, storage in transit (not to exceed 60 calendar days), and unpacking and installation of the employee's household goods at the new residence, when properly documented by itemized invoices and receipts. Should employees elect to move themselves, reimbursement for such moves may not exceed the costs that would have been incurred had a commercial firm been used.

An employee and spouse or domestic partner may be reimbursed for relocation travel expenses (defined as a one-way trip from the former residence to the general area of the new campus or other primary job location) in accordance with the CSU procedures outlined, with the exception of mileage which is to be reimbursed at the federal standard mileage rate for moving expenses if approved by the Chancellor. When authorized, travel expenses for spouses or domestic partners will be reimbursed on the same basis as travel expenses for employees.

The following non-reimburseable expenditures are only meant to provide examples of expenses that will not be reimbursed by the University. Such expenses include but are not limited to personal domestic ATM/credit card fees; fines/citations; clothing and accessories; frequent traveler program participation; account fees or deposits for FastTrack (or equivalent) that are not related to individual toll charges; club membership fees; luggage (lost luggage may be covered, see Section VIII.E. Personal Property or Baggage Loss); personal entertainment; personal care; and dependent/pet care.

An employee and spouse or domestic partner may be reimbursed for actual lodging expenses, supported by an itemized receipt, plus meal and incidental expenses in accordance with Appendix C of the CSU Travel Procedures and Regulations. When authorized, lodging, meal and incidental expenses for spouses or domestic partners will be reimbursed on the same basis as subsistence expenses for employees.

A.   Moving and relocation expenses shall not be paid for more than 60 days unless the appointing authority has determined in advance that the search for a new residence will result in unusual and unavoidable hardship for an employee and spouse or domestic partner and, therefore, has granted an exception.

B. This allowance shall terminate immediately upon establishment of a permanent residence.

Procedure for Payment of Claims 

Itemized receipts or invoices verifying the actual costs and payment of a move shall be submitted directly by the employee to his/her appropriate appointing authority or designee.

If reimbursement is approved by the appointing authority, appropriate claim forms, including the Travel Expense Claim form shall be submitted to the campus accounting office, Accounts Payable, Modoc Hall, Room 3005, campus zip 6004. The campus accounting office may reimburse the employee or carrier directly or submit the claim to the State Controller's Office for payment.

The appointing authority may contract directly with a carrier for moving and relocation services.

Reimbursement for Sale of Residence

Whenever an employee is required to change assignment and designated place of work which requires the sale of a residence, the employee may be reimbursed for actual and necessary selling costs as determined by prevailing practices within the area of sale. Claims for reimbursement must be substantiated by the seller's closing escrow statement and other pertinent supportive documents. [Note: Reimbursement for expenses associated with the sale of a residence are subject to the withholding of taxes. Refer above to the section titled Important Notice Regarding Tax Law Changes for Moving and Relocation Expenses.] Actual and necessary selling costs may include:

A.   Brokerage commission;

B.   Title insurance;

C.   Escrow fees;

D.   Prepayment penalties;

E.   Taxes, charges and fees fixed by local authority required to consummate the sale of the residence; and

F.   Miscellaneous seller's costs customary to the area that may be reimbursed if determined appropriate by the appointing authority.

Actual and necessary selling costs will be reimbursed for that portion of the dwelling the employee actually occupies if the employee owns and resides in a multi-family dwelling.

Claims for the sale of residence must be submitted within one year following the date the employee reports to the new work location designated by the appointing authority. An extension may be granted by the appointing authority upon receipt of evidence warranting such extension.

Reimbursement for sale of a residence that does not conform to these procedures may be granted when the appointing authority has determined that reimbursement is reasonable in light of the individual circumstance and that the employee will otherwise be subject to hardship by reason of the change of residence.

Settlement of a Lease

Whenever an employee is required to change an officially designated place of work and such change requires the settlement of a lease on the employee's former residence, the employee may receive the actual and necessary cost of settlement of the unexpired lease of a maximum of one year.

Claims for settlement of a lease shall be documented and itemized and submitted to the appointing authority within six months following the new reporting date except that the appointing authority may grant an extension upon receipt of evidence warranting such extension prior to the expiration of the six-month period. Reimbursement shall not be allowed if the appointing authority determines that the employee knew or reasonably should have known that relocation was imminent before entering into a lease agreement.

Temporary Relocation Allowance

A temporary relocation allowance to defer the cost of housing may be authorized for the duration of a temporary appointment as described in Scope: Temporary appointments. The allowance may be negotiated up to the maximum applicable federal per diem rate for the area. The allowance must conform with the procedures outlined by the CSU. The full temporary relocation allowance paid to an employee as reimbursement must be supported by itemized receipts, lease agreement, or other documentation reflecting actual housing expenses. Reimbursement may be claimed by the employee, via the submission of appropriate receipts, no more frequently than once per month. Housing expenses for long-term temporary employees may also be paid directly by the temporary appointing authority, up to the maximum reimbursement level noted above.

Appointing Authority for Reimbursements

The Chancellor or campus President shall approve, deny or grant exceptions for all moving and relocation reimbursements. The Chancellor or President may also authorize reimbursement for actual, necessary and reasonable relocation expenditures not identified in these procedures. Any such reimbursement shall be documented and paid in accord with established accounting practices and state and federal guidelines. Authorization from the Chancellor or President may not be delegated to a person in a position lower than the Principal Business Officer.

Reimbursement for any tax liabilities ("grossing up") incurred by the employee as the result of receiving reimbursement for relocation expenses is prohibited.

Repayment of Moving and Relocation Expenses Reimbursements

If an employee whose moving or relocation expenses have been reimbursed does not continue his/her employment with the CSU for a period of at least two years (unless the discontinuance of the employment was the result of death, disability or other similar unexpected cause beyond the control of the employee as determined by appointing authority), the employee or appropriate representative shall repay the following percentage of the amount received for reimbursement for such moving and relocation expenses:

A.   100% if employed less than 6 months.

B.   75% if employed at least 6 months but less than 12 months.

C.   50% if employed at least 12 months but less than 18 months.

D.   25% if employed at least 18 months but less than 24 months.

This provision does not apply to temporary relocation allowances as described in the Temporary Relocation Allowance section. 

Institution Responsibility

Authorized moving and relocation expenses may result in taxable income to the employee pursuant to state and federal regulations.

The campus shall ensure that a copy of these procedures is given to the employee upon notice to the employee of an impending move.

Effect of Memorandum of Understanding on Internal Procedures

Notwithstanding any other provision of these Internal Procedures, if a Memorandum of Understanding entered into pursuant to the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act is in conflict with these provisions, the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding and not the provisions of the Internal Procedures shall govern as to those employees covered by the Memorandum of Understanding.