I am very new to travel nursing. Recruiters keep telling me about a stipend for housing that is not taxed. I don’t understand that really, and how easy is it to get housing for 13 weeks at a time?
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
The IRS code classifies certain workers as “travelers.” This means that you are working a temporary assignment away from your “permanent tax home.” Because of this, an agency may give you money to cover the cost of your housing (a housing stipend). This is tax-free (if given according to the IRS guidelines) and is paid as a reimbursement for the living expenses you incur while away on your work assignment.
Finding housing for 13 weeks may be easy or difficult based on the geographic locations and options available, as well as other things, like seasonality. Some areas you will easily be able to find a nice apartment that will rent for 13 weeks, furnished, utilities, all included. Some areas you may have to do the work yourself for services and furnishings, and some locations you may have to stay in a hotel.
Instead of accepting the stipend, you also have another option. Many agencies will set-up housing for you. This is usually going to be at a Extended Stay Hotel or the like. It is sometimes the preferred option, because you can forgo the stress of finding a 13 week lease and handling any of the paperwork and deposit. Make sure you ask your recruiter if this is an option at that agency.