Ask a Travel Nurse: Is it better for tax purposes to take company housing or the stipend and per diem?
Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
Is it better for tax purposes to take company housing or the stipend and per diem? Do you take the company-provided housing from your company? Also, who’s your favorite agency and why?
Thanks on all counts!
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
Your question is really hard to address from a tax perspective because nurses will have different tax situations and primarily, it’s not really stipend versus company-provided housing, but rather, being an itinerant worker versus having a tax home.
If you do not have a tax home, you will pay taxes on your stipend OR your company provided housing. If you have a “tax home” you will likely not pay any tax on the company provided housing OR any stipend. However, any stipend above what you are paying for your rent, should be taxed, but many Travelers do not do this. So, it’s hard to answer a tax question like the one you posed without knowing if the nurse in question would be making an honest tax payment on any extra stipend. It would then depend on how much extra they were claiming (two Travelers in the same location could actually be paying rather different housing costs) and have different amounts left over to be taxed.
In more than 20 years of travel, I have always taken the company housing on anything but local travel assignments. I prefer not having to deal with any housing issues while trying to concentrate on my assignment. It’s also nice having someone handle things when situations do arise with housing (and I’ve had some interesting ones).
As far as agencies, if you are with a reputable one, they are similar, but one may excel in one area that you like for a particular assignment. For example, some companies boast better than norm healthcare insurance. Perhaps this is a consideration if you are having medical issues. If looking to pay off debt, then obviously the one with the highest rates wins out.
I never recommend companies, but do refer people to the recruiters I use and trust with my travels (five solid companies I use to get me to my destinations). If you’d ever like any assistance with that, feel free to email me at email@example.com
Hope this helps.