Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
I traveled with an agency for six months this past year. I worked for an hourly wage and did not get extra for mileage, meals, or housing. I do have a tax home and traveled 90 miles to the job and had an apartment there where I stayed three nights a week. I still had to pay by the month. Are the above mentioned deductible?
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
I can tell you a little about what I understand to be deductible, but I am NOT a tax professional and would strongly suggest that if you are uncertain about any tax situation, you consult an expert. In fact, although I will write a small blurb on your situation, I would like you also to forward your question to Joseph Smith over at TravelTax.com (http://traveltax.com/html/EmailUs.html).
Joseph Smith is sort of a tax guru regarding traveling professionals, so much so, that I asked him to look over the tax section in my book before I published, just to make sure everything I was writing was correct.
Travel Tax does a great service in answering tax questions, and will also do your returns if you like, for just about what you’d pay any other tax professional. They don’t charge a lot for the peace of mind it may give you as a travel nurse to have your returns done by someone VERY familiar with the tax intricacies involving the traveling healthcare professional.
With that said, as I understand it, many company’s tax advantage programs do allow you more take-home pay. But even if you do not work with a company providing a tax program, that is a deduction that you would still qualify for if you truly qualify for a tax advantage program through your travel company.
The idea of the deduction is that you are allowed to deduct expenses you would have while working away from your home area (or “tax home”). A “tax home” is not a dwelling (although that does help establish a tax home), but rather, an area in which you normally do business. Other things that help establish this “area” are a place where you register your car, register to vote, or have earned an income.
I hate to expand on this too much and would rather direct you to the page on Joseph Smith’s website that is in my mind, REQUIRED reading for ANY traveling professional, which can be found here:
So, you should be able to deduct your living expenses while on the road, your meals and incidentals, and your mileage (a detailed logbook of the actual odometer readings is a good idea). You will have to look up the going rates for meals and incidentals for the area in which you worked and how to claim this on your taxes. More info on that can be found here:
Just remember that you can only deduct M&I on the days where you were away from home. On any days where you returned home, you would not have that deduction for M&I or likely even the housing (even though you pay on a monthly, rather than daily basis).
I hope this helps, but please use it only as a guide and research and understand all the tax implications with your specific situation.