Tax season is here again! The due date for filing your taxes is Tuesday, April 18th, 2023. And if you’re a travel nurse who’s been putting off taxes, we get it — they can be confusing and complicated. But filing late can lead to penalties and fees, and an even bigger headache. So, if you’re looking for some last-minute guidance, here are some tips designed to help ease the burden of taxes for travel nurses.
Taxes for Travel Nurses: 5 Last-Minute Tips
While, every person’s individual tax situation is unique, there are some guidelines that everyone can follow. And that’s especially for travel nursing, where a ton of factors like travel expenses, housing stipends, and different state requirements all come into play.
Tip #1: Figure out if you need an extension.
April 18th is also the deadline to submit an extension to the IRS, which gives you another six months to file. But remember, if you owe money, it’s still due on April 18th — and if you pay late, you’ll be charged a late fee. On the other hand, that late fee may still be better than rushing your return and missing something important. If you’re not sure what to do, don’t be afraid to consult a tax professional.
Tip #2: Understand your “tax home” and whether you have to file a multi-state return.
Your tax home is the place where you permanently live — the house you pay a mortgage on, or the apartment your rent. But if you’ve worked in another state in the past year, you may also be obligated to pay taxes there. If you’ve lived in another state for six months or more, or you didn’t maintain a permanent address in your home location throughout the year, you’ll want to double check this item.
Making things even more complicated is the fact that every state has different rules. Some states, like Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming, don’t require you to file at all. But most others do, and if you’re in doubt, you definitely don’t want to leave this one up to chance.
If you’re not sure if you owe taxes in another state, you should consult a tax professional. They usually charge a modest fee, but that’s usually better than the time and anxiety of making a mistake on this important part of taxes for travel nurses.
Tip #3: Understand your responsibilities and benefits.
On top of understanding what states you need to file in, a big part of filing taxes for travel nurses is knowing how to classify and claim expenses. For instance, special deductions are no longer allowed for common travel nursing expenses like food and gas. On the other hand, if you’ve been reimbursed for money you’ve already spend on those expenses, you won’t need to pay taxes on them again.
Tip #4: Get your info in order, and don’t be surprised if an audit is in your future.
Getting audited is no fun, but it isn’t exactly uncommon, either. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans get audited. That may sound like a lot, but it’s actually less than half of one percent of the country’s population.
The point, though, is that it happens, and it’s no cause for panic. In fact, it’s smart to live life like you may be audited at any time. If you don’t already do so, start getting together your receipts and important documents in a single, easy-to-access location. That includes any contracts you’ve had over the past year, and any receipts related to travel expenses. Luckily, in the digital age, a lot of this info is probably already sitting in your email inbox or available as a text receipt on your phone.
Another way to make sure you’re ready for an audit is to start planning out your expenses and spending. Set up a spreadsheet if you know how. If not, there are tons of apps out there that can help you get the job done. Either way, the bottom line is to keep as close a track of your expenses as you can, and try to save any proof of what you’re spending — especially when you’re on assignment.
Tip #5: Don’t hesitate to hire a professional!
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably noticed a pattern with most of these tips: When in doubt, consult a professional. For a modest fee, they’ll take on the burden and responsibility of making sure every detail is correct. Getting expert help can also help put you at ease while helping make sure you don’t make any errors, and that you get every cent you’re entitled to.
If you have any traveling friends who have an accountant prepare their taxes for them, ask for a recommendation. If not, a simple Google search will show you plenty of accountants in your area.
Experience the Best in Travel Nursing with CareerStaff
Traveling is one of the most exciting things a nurse can do. But it also comes with a few challenges, and taxes can be one of them! If you feel confused about what to do, don’t be afraid to ask your CareerStaff recruiter for advice. As always, we’re committed to making sure our travelers have the best possible travel experience — and that means following through with the loose ends after an assignment’s over.
If you’re looking for more insights into living your best travel nursing life, sign up for our Clinicians Connection newsletter for more great info, sent directly to your inbox. You can also get more info on travel nursing with CareerStaff here, or check out all our open travel jobs now.
The information offered here does not constitute financial or legal advice. Readers are advised to consult a professional.