As a traveling healthcare professional, you’re entitled to some pretty nifty tax breaks if you qualify. The laws regarding these breaks can be relatively complicated, so we recommend you consult with an experienced tax professional.

In the meantime, here is an overview of some of the tax laws/guidelines. (Click here for a more in-depth explanation, but we highly recommend you also talk to your tax advisor.)

In a nutshell, in order to qualify for the tax breaks, the IRS wants to be sure that you incur travel expenses:

  • While away from home temporarily (more about this in a moment)
  • While in the “pursuit” of a “trade or business”
  • That are “reasonable and necessary.”

What the IRS means by “incur” is that you actually spent money on your assignment. This does not include lodging expenses if, for example, you decide to drive to your assignment rather than stay overnight (although you may be able to deduct your mileage/car expenses; check with your CPA).

The term “temporarily away from home” can be a sticky wicket, but here’s a bit of an explanation.

First, three important definitions:

  • Your home: You must have what the IRS deems a “permanent tax home.”
  • Away from home: Your assignment must not be within “commuting distance” of your permanent tax home.
  • Temporarily: The assignment (as well as any extensions) may not last longer than one year.

Generally, your tax home is where you live between assignments. You can prove your tax home with your driver’s license and car registration, voter registration, maintain proof of residency with mortgage or rental documents, and return to your tax home at least once a year and file your taxes there.

What can you deduct as travel expenses? There are many things:

  • Housing and meals
  • Dry cleaning and laundry costs as related to your assignment
  • Internet access and even computer maintenance
  • CE costs as well as license fees
  • Malpractice insurance
  • Transportation costs such as plane, train, boat and bus fares. Driving expenses, including your car’s maintenance. Even tolls and parking fees.
  • Phone expenses, including your mobile phone.
  • The cost of your uniforms

There may be more tax deductible travel costs, depending on your particular circumstances. Talk to your tax professional for more information.

Are you interested in working as a traveling nurse, or physical, speech or occupational therapist? Then contact a recruiter at MedPro Healthcare Staffing. We have hundreds of traveling opportunities just waiting for skilled and dedicated professionals. We look forward to hearing from you!