How to File Taxes as a Travel Nurse

Travel nurses filing their taxes for the tax year will need to take the current year’s new tax laws into consideration before they file. On a yearly basis, there may be a number of features and a number of changes that can potentially affect travel nurses.  

Hire a Tax Professional
This is probably our best bit of advice. Even if you’ve been doing your own taxes without any issues previously, the recent changes with the tax laws can be a bit confusing. The benefit of hiring a tax professional is two-fold:

  1. They have a better understanding of the changes in tax laws and will compute your tax bill or refund with the utmost accuracy

  2. They can advise you of the steps you can take now to maximize any benefits in your future tax filings.

Be Aware of Your Tax Home
Those new to travel nursing will not be familiar with the term “tax home”. A tax home is basically the city in which you’ve worked for the past year. It does not necessarily mean the place you consider your permanent residence.   

Travel nurses may have had several “homes” in several states throughout the year. For tax purposes they need to choose one specific location to call “home” in order to calculate work-related expenses incurred away from that home. Recent tax laws have done away with personal business expenses (including mileage, CEUs, licenses, meals and incidentals). 

Every tax filing is different, so it’s imperative you discuss your situation with a qualified tax professional.  

Don’t Forget State Income Taxes
If you’ve worked in multiple states throughout the year, unfortunately you will need to pay state income taxes in each of those states. One important note: you will not want to file as a “part year” resident in any of the states your worked at – even though you may have lived there for some time. You will only want to claim residency in the “permanent home” you used on your federal income tax return. 

Confused yet? Yes! It’s very confusing! Which is why we’ll just keep recommending you hire a qualified tax professional – especially if this is your first-time filing taxes as a travel nurse.  

Keep Your Receipts
While recent tax laws have done away with many of the itemized deductions you once could have claimed as an employee– you will want to hold on to your receipts from the past 7 years in order to justify any reimbursements you’ve received as you could be required to show the receipts that were used to calculate your deductions in previous years.  

Negotiate Your Reimbursement Package
When possible going forward, try to negotiate non-taxable reimbursements for travel, meals, continuing education requirements, licenses, uniforms and other equipment you may need for an assignment into your employment contracts. Since you can no longer deduct many of these expenses on your own when you file your tax return, perhaps your staffing agency will try to make individual contracts more attractive with a more valuable reimbursement package.  

Next Move will give you the maximum allowable IRS travel stipend plus a meals and expenditure stipend as part of your contract.  

*We are not tax professionals. Please consult with a professional tax accountant to discuss your individual tax return

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