By January 26, 2009 2 Comments

Travel Nursing can be taxing: Part 2


Last week you learned about what qualifies as a “Tax Home” and what exactly is a “Tax Advantage” program. This week we will expand a bit on the topic of Tax Home and give you some information in regards to travel expenses and what constitutes as a tax deduction or whether you are eligible for tax -free travel reimbursements from your staffing company.

The first step is to determine if you do in fact have a permanent tax home (According to the IRS: “the place where you return to on a regular basis to live and work, where you incur substantial and recurring expenses”). If you do have a tax home, and you’re qualified for temporary living expense deductions, you may be able to deduct travel expenses incurred on your tax return or receive tax-free travel reimbursements from your staffing agency. This can happen only if all of your forfeitures exceed the standard deduction for your tax filing status.

Did you know that travel expenses are commonly the largest of all deductions available to traveling healthcare professionals, like travel nurses and travel allied health professionals? So what travel expenses of yours qualify for restitution?
Airline tickets are reimbursable, dollar for dollar, tax-free from your company, or fully deductable from your tax return. Most companies provide their travelers with a flat rate for travel, if you receive such payment, you must claim it as income and then subtract actual expenses to offset the income, or deduct the remainder. Another deductible travel expense is that of business mileage, but only after you’ve exceeded any payment from your employer. Daily commutes and personal mileage while on assignment are regarded as a personal expense and therefore do not qualify for deductions.

There are two ways to report vehicle expenses – the actual expenses method and the standard mileage deduction. For both, you must record all miles driven, plus business mileage including commuting and all other personal mileage. You can choose whichever deduction provides you with the biggest deduction unless you lease the car.

The actual cost expense option is exactly what it sounds like. It is the actual cost associated with using the vehicle for tax purposes for a particular tax year. Automobile expenses will include gas, tires, repairs, oil changes, registration costs, licensing, insurance and so on. In many cases, the actual expense deduction will end up being larger than the standard mileage deduction.

The standard mileage rate deduction is calculated by multiplying your total business mileage for the year by a figure provided by the IRS (55 cents per mile for business miles driven). The mileage rate is calculated to pay the whole expense of operating the vehicle. If you take this route, (no pun intended) no other vehicle expense is acceptable for deducting.

Here are a couple of resources that go deeper into travel deductions.

Business Travel Expenses

Business or Personal: 7 Tips to Deducting Travel Expenses

Next week… Do’s and Don’ts

The tax information contained on and from any communication related to this blog is for information purposes only. Please consult with your personal accountant or tax preparers for any matters concerning your own income taxes.

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About the Author:

Patrick Fuerstenau here. Born in Kentucky, raised in Germany, landed in Nebraska and still here. I've been involved with Marketing and Advertising for over a decade. It all began with an internship at an ad agency in Omaha, followed by a 9 year stint as a graphic artist at the lone major newspaper in Omaha. A friend of mine told me about an opening at her company and said that it was the best gig she's ever had... So I decided to spread my proverbial wings and see what I could do for them and vice versa. So here I am at Medical Solutions and am going on my 3rd year as a Marketing Specialist for a great travel nursing company. This by far has been a major blessing in my life. I love the work I get to do just as much as I love the people who make up this fabulous company. I can see myself here for a long time... As long as they'll have me. Now that we've got the career timeline out of the way... Let me tell you a little about who I am. I am oh so passionate about the game of futbol! I've been playing soccer since the age of 8 and am still playing today. If I couldn't at least kick the ball around, I don't know what I would do with myself. I fear getting old. I also have a strong love for the arts... Music, Visual arts, Film, Design... pretty much anything and everything arty. I'm happy go lucky and am always looking to have a good time. Just ask my manager! And I love writing about travel nursing.

2 Comments on "Travel Nursing can be taxing: Part 2"

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  1. I am a student doing a research paper on travel nursing which I am considering as a career. One of the areas I must address is a social issue associated with travel nursing. I will appreciate anything you can send me of this topic.
    Rod Hardy

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