Washington State University

Revised 7-10
Purchasing Services

Employee Household Moves

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Deans or other principal administrative officers may authorize payment for household moves for eligible new or transferring employees. (RCW 43.03.110,120) Refer to 70.60 for eligibility requirements.

The administrative unit that employs the individual pays for any authorized costs.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that WSU report payments for moving expenses on the employee's W-2. EXCEPTION: The IRS does not require WSU to report moving expenses on the employee's W-2 which are paid directly to a third-party on behalf of the employee, e.g., to a state-contract vendor.

The employee may refer to IRS Publication 521 for moving expense information. Refer to 70.60 and 70.62 for information about taxable relocation expenses.


For employees funded by sponsored projects, direct questions regarding allowability to Sponsored Programs Services, French Administration 240. Many agreements with federal agencies allow for relocation expenses.

International Moves

Contact Purchasing Services for planning assistance with household moves that cross national boundaries.

Travel Expenses

The University may pay for lodging and mileage when the University moves a new or transferred employee. The employee claims reimbursement for lodging and mileage expenses by submitting a Travel Expense Voucher to Travel Services. See 95.20.

Mileage Reimbursement

The employing administrator may authorize reimbursement for mileage expenses related to driving up to two personal motor vehicles from the old residence to the new residence. The reimbursement cannot exceed the mileage rate shown in 95.19.

Moving Arrangements

If employee-made arrangements are more expensive than arrangements made through Purchasing Services using state contracts, the employee will be reimbursed at the state contract rate.

Costs Exceeding State Limits

If the employee's moving costs exceed the amount authorized by state limits indicated in this section, the employee pays the difference unless the employing official authorizes payment from a discretionary account. See 70.33 for information about discretionary accounts.

Items Not Supportable By State Accounts

If the employee moves items that are not authorized by state regulations and the associated costs are not payable from state accounts, the employing official may authorize payment from a discretionary account. See 70.33 for information about discretionary accounts.


The employing administrator may authorize allowable moving costs subject to the limitations imposed by state regulations and University policy. Each specific service listed below must be authorized or it will not be allowed. Purchasing Services does not make assumptions.

Weight and Dollar Amount

The cost of moving 16,000 pounds of household goods is the state maximum allowed weight. The employing administrator may designate a lesser poundage amount or a specific dollar amount. If a specific dollar amount is used, the authorization to the moving employee should specify that the state will pay the dollar amount or for 16,000 pounds, whichever is less.

Packing and Unpacking

The employing administrator may authorize a reasonable allowance for packing and unpacking.


The employing department may authorize up to 90 calendar days of storage. Storage may be paid at point of origin, destination point of the move, or both, but may not exceed a total of 90 days.


Insurance or transit protection cost is authorized for up to a state maximum of $100,000 per interstate and/or international move under state-provided insurance. Insurance or transit protection cost is authorized for up to a state maximum of $75,000 per intrastate move, i.e., within a single state, under state-provided insurance.

Coverage in excess of $100,000 may be secured at the employee's expense from the employee's insurance company. (SAAM 60.20.10(a)(4))

Appliance Hookups

Charges by the common carrier for appliance disconnections and hookups may be authorized.


A split refers to picking up or delivering goods at two locations. The employing department may authorize either a split pickup or a split delivery. A split pickup/delivery must occur within 35 miles of either the origin or destination.

Excluded Items/Services

Items or services excluded from the allowable moving costs are listed below. The employing administrator may not authorize payment from state funds for these items or services.


The employing administrator may authorize a new or transferring employee to move household goods in rental equipment. The expense may not exceed the cost of moving a state maximum of 16,000 pounds of household goods between the same origin and destination by a state-contracted carrier.

The authorizing Departmental Requisition must specify each included service, e.g., rental charges, mileage, and/or insurance. Purchasing Services does not make assumptions. Only specified services are purchased.

Rental Charges

If the cost for a truck or trailer is estimated to be less than $8,000, competitive bids are not required. The employee may select the rental unit, pay the rental, and submit the receipt for reimbursement.

If the truck or trailer rental cost is estimated to be greater than $8,000, the employee must obtain three competitive bids provided there are three firms willing to bid. The employee must select the lowest bid unless he or she provides a valid written reason not to use that firm. The employee submits copies of the bids to Purchasing Services when reimbursement is requested. (See below for reimbursement procedures.)

Mileage Allowance

Mileage allowance for towing a rental trailer with a private vehicle may be paid at the standard mileage rate. See 95.19.


Third-party labor costs for packing and unpacking or loading may be authorized.

An employee is not reimbursed for labor associated with his or her household relocation.


The state does not purchase transit insurance; however, the employee may secure and be reimbursed for transit insurance up to a maximum coverage of $100,000 for interstate and international moves and $75,000 maximum for intrastate moves.


The employing administrator may authorize a mobile home move. The reimbursement is limited to the cost of moving the state maximum of 16,000 pounds of household goods between the same origin and destination points by a common carrier. Estimates of costs may be obtained from a local moving company or the State Traffic Manager.

Allowable Expenses

Allowable moving expenses may be paid for a mobile home that is the primary residence of the employee, provided the move is not within the same metropolitan area. Each category of expense must be authorized on the Departmental Requisition. Purchasing Services does not make assumptions. Only specified services are purchased.

Allowable moving costs may include the cost of having the mobile home moved by a professional mover or a combination of costs resulting from moving household goods by common or other carrier and moving the mobile home by professional mover.

Allowable costs may also include packing the contents of the mobile home and normal preparation of the mobile home for over-the-road movement including unblocking, blocking, and leveling.

The state does not purchase transit insurance; however, the employee may secure and be reimbursed for transit insurance up to a maximum coverage of $100,000. 

Excluded Items

The costs of the following items are not allowed:


Employing Department

All Employees

The department prepares a Departmental Requisition including the name, address, telephone number, and title of the new employee. The Departmental Requisition specifies which moving services are authorized.


In addition to the above requisition, documentation for faculty relocation expenses includes the following:

Professional Equipment

A separate Departmental Requisition is required to move professional equipment such as laboratory or special equipment or professional books which are not a part of the employee's personal household goods. If the equipment ownership transfers to WSU, contact Property Inventory, Controller's Office, to add the equipment to WSU's inventory. See also 20.50.

Relocation Package

Upon receipt of an approved Departmental Requisition, Purchasing Services sends a relocation package to the employee or prospective employee that includes:

The employee indicates who will coordinate the move, i.e., the employee or the state.

Request Processing

If the employee elects to have the state coordinate the move, Purchasing Services processes the move using a state contract. Purchasing Services retains a copy of the Relocation Authorization form.

Purchasing Services sends the original Relocation Authorization form and a copy of the Departmental Requisition to Accounts Payable, Controller's Office.

Payment Procedures for State Contract Moves

The vendor routes an invoice for moving costs to Purchasing Services. Purchasing Services routes a copy of the WSU Purchase Order and the vendor's invoice to Accounts Payable.

Accounts Payable reviews the Relocation Authorization. If the authorization was for the same amount or more, the vendor is paid.

If the authorization is for less than the invoice, the employee is liable for the difference. The employee authorizes a payroll deduction to withhold the total amount of the employee's share of moving costs by signing the Relocation Authorization form. (NOTE: State policy does not permit monthly payroll deductions for these expenses.)

Accounts Payable pays the entire bill and notifies the employee's department of the amount to be paid by the employee within 30 days.

If the employee fails to reimburse the University within 30 days, the employee's signature on the Relocation Authorization form provides the University with the authority to withhold the total amount due from the employee through payroll deduction.

Payment Procedures for Employee-Arranged Moves

After the employee directly pays the selected carrier or rental vehicle company, he or she requests reimbursement from the University.

The employing department completes a State of Washington Invoice Voucher. (See 30.45.) The Invoice Voucher itemizes all expenses and includes the signature of the responsible expenditure authority and the claimant.

The department submits to Purchasing Services documentation relating to the move with the completed and approved Invoice Voucher. If the costs exceed $8,000 either for rental equipment or common carrier, three bids must be submitted with the documentation.

Common Carrier

If the employee hired a carrier directly, the documents submitted with proof of payment include the bill of lading, inventory sheets, accessorial charges, and certified weight scale tickets.

Rental Equipment

If the employee rented equipment for the move, the employee submits documentation which may include (but is not necessarily limited to) fuel receipts, purchased packing material, rented equipment receipts, invoicing for labor costs to pack and load or unpack and unload, and proof of payment.

Approval by Traffic Manager

If the relocation costs exceed $8,000, Purchasing Services submits the Relocation Authorization, the Invoice Voucher, and any related information to the Traffic Manager, State Division of Purchasing.

After the State Traffic Manager approves the costs, Purchasing Services routes a copy of the WSU Purchase Order, the vendor's invoice and the employee's Invoice Voucher to Accounts Payable.


If the amount is equal to or less than the amount authorized, Accounts Payable reimburses the employee.

If the amount is greater than the amount authorized, Accounts Payable reimburses the employee for the amount that was authorized and approved by the State Traffic Manager.


Any claim for loss or damage must be negotiated directly between employee, mover, and/or the insurance provider. The University assists the employee and the carrier in resolving disputes.

To report the damage or loss of goods moved by common carrier with a state-contracted mover, the employee contacts the carrier company. The carrier company provides a claim form to the employee. The employee completes the claim form, returning the original to the carrier, and sending a copy to the Office of State Procurement.


If a new employee terminates or causes termination of his/her employment with WSU within one year of the date of employment, the University is entitled to reimbursement for moving costs paid by the University. The University may withhold the amount of the moving costs paid by the University from any amounts due the employee. (RCW 43.03.120, SAAM 60.10.30(c))

To withhold moving expenses from the final paycheck, the department enters an explanation and the deduction amount on the separation Personnel Action Form. The department also routes a memorandum to the Director of Payroll Services, providing an explanation and requesting the deduction. Route this memorandum at least three weeks prior to the final pay date.