During this second post in the series, we discuss what you can deduct in terms of food and housing. This is an area that traveling healthcare professionals are constantly confused about, so we are going to do our best to clear that confusion. So, here’s the scoop:
Depending upon what your agency gives for your meal allowance, most food expenses on assignment can usually be reimbursed. Food costs are deducted according to a daily per diem rate for the number of days you are on an assignment. These rates are available in a standardized table, adjusted by locality. Having a standardized daily rate saves you from keeping track of receipts (and can save you a headache!). If your company does not give you an allowance, or if that allowance is lower than the government rate, you can deduct the full daily amount—just be sure to keep your receipts.
Housing allowances differ in that only the actual amount spent in excess of your given allowance can be deducted, which entails keeping records of any housing expenses incurred beyond an allowance. Many hotels are sending receipts via email, which is one less thing you have to keep track of because it will be nicely saved in your inbox.
Because tax laws are always changing, make sure your recording and reporting is up to speed. Keeping good records is crucial for every healthcare professional!
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