In my last post I spoke about maintaining a home while you are on the road traveling. This week, I wanted to address the advantage of doing such a thing.
The thing I have always loved about travel nursing is that the housing is provided by your travel company. Were it not for this, I, and many others, would not be able to embark on such a career. In addition to having housing provided, many travel companies have tax-advantage programs that benefit those that own a home in another state.
Let me first state that you do not necessarily need to even own a home to qualify for many of the tax advantage programs. All you need to do is establish a “tax home”. A tax home is a dwelling in an area in which you normally reside. The idea is that if you have living expenses in one area and then take a travel assignment in another area, you will probably be duplicating those living expenses and are therefore entitled to a tax break.
Of course with anything run by the government, there are many rules and stipulations that must be met. First, your tax home should be the area in which you normally “do business”. If you have a residence where you receive things such as your car registration, nursing license, or voter registration, this would probably qualify as your tax home. Second, you must often make some sort of contribution to the dwelling that you are claiming as your tax home. If you live at home with your parents or rent out your home while you are on assignment, it probably would not qualify.
The final thing you must remember in claiming a tax home is the amount of time that you are away from that tax home. If you are on the road for more than a year, the IRS no longer looks at you as a temporary worker and you will lose your tax advantage benefits.
Again, all of this varies drastically on your specific situation. The important thing to know is that if you own a home (or contribute regularly to an apartment or someone else’s home), you might be entitled to a tax break.
Two great resources for tax information for the traveler are Kobaly.com and Traveltax.com. The later of these two is the site of Joseph Smith who actually contributed content to my book in the chapter on taxes. Joseph was actually once a traveling professional himself and has quite a bit of information posted on his website.
Since everyone will have different circumstances under which they travel, you should always seek the information that is specific to your situation. If you require more assistance, I always recommend finding a tax professional like the two mentioned above.