It’s that time of year again, time to bask in the pleasant afterglow of the holidays, enjoying the last few moments before the new year. And January brings new resolutions, new hope and new contracts. And taxes.
As a travel nurse, it is in your best interests to seek the guidance of a tax expert when filing Uncle Sam’s due. Being a traveling healthcare professional means that your expenses (and compensations) are outside the purview of many tax preparers who have never been faced with the fiduciary complications of a travel nurse so it’s imperative that you go in to meet your CPA as prepared as possible.
Current Tax Reform legislation being considered may alter the below information very quickly; should this occur, we will alert you to the change in a follow up blog. Unless said changes take place, we understand the following information to be accurate for you.
Let’s start out with what you should be able to claim just as a nurse in general: Continuing Education Units, mandatory training and certifications, licenses and license renewals, interest on student loans, union dues, scrubs and shoes, as well as credentialing expenses. All good news.
Specifically traveling to work a job should enable you to claim other things, as well. Ask your tax preparer about claiming mileage, vehicle maintenance, gas, tolls, and parking expenses. Did you rent a car or fly to an assignment? If you haven’t already received reimbursements for these things, you may still be eligible to claim them. Did you purchase a recreational vehicle or a travel trailer or are you debating it? Ask your CPA how that will affect you. Can you claim new tires, oil changes or windshield wipers? It never hurts to ask!
With the forthcoming changes to the compact licensure (see our blog about the eNLC here) on January 19th, it may also be a good idea to acquire an additional license in order to continue your first 2018 travel assignment uninterrupted. This would also be a deduction for your tax filing if you start the process by December.
Regardless what you are able to claim as a deduction, be sure you save any and all receipts for expenses you’ve incurred this past year, just in case any questions arise. Another good tip is to document your mileage at the beginning of the year and compare it to you when you make it home from your last travel assignment of the year. You should also document your odometer reading upon acceptance of each assignment and again at it’s conclusion. Once you accept a position, you will be driving around doing drug screenings, sending mail and faxes and buying scrubs, all things you should get credit for as a requirement for the job.
The most important thing in all of this is finding a tax professional who can answer your many questions and who can suggest ways for you to have a more beneficial and compliant tax return. Ask a new tax preparer how much experience they have in dealing with travel healthcare professionals or seek the advice of an expert we recommend, Joseph Smith, RRT/EA/MTax, of www.traveltax.com. As a member of the Tax Compliance Committee of the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO), he can surely provide you the soundest guidance on tax filing as a travel nurse. You can also listen to a 2015 interview TRS Radio did with Mr. Smith by clicking here.
Do you have any advice for claiming deductions as a travel nurses? Let us know!