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Non-Taxable Travel Reimbursement Benefits

As a travel nurse you earn your wages working away from your home. You have a tax home (where your family might live, where you have legal ties, a bank account, and where you obtained your current driver’s license) and you also have a “home” (or apartment or long term lease) where you live while you work and earn a living. With two homes to maintain, you have duplicate expenses such as meals, housing and incidentals.

The IRS recognizes the potential burden of living in one place and working temporarily in another and has created a table of rates that estimates the average food and housing costs for each U.S. city. These rates are called “per diem” rates, are different for each city you may travel to, and may be non-taxable. Our tax laws allow eligible full time travel nurses who qualify with a permanent tax home and other specifications to receive them.

The Rules

There are some initial rules that need to be followed in order to qualify for the non-taxable travel reimbursement benefits. Some of them are:

  1. You must have a tax home. Generally, your tax home is where you normally reside and pay taxes. If you constantly travel and have no permanent residence, you might not qualify for this program.
  2. Your tax home must be different from your travel assignment location. If you are working in the general proximity of your tax home and return home nightly from your shift, you would not qualify for the program.
  3. Your assignment must be less than one year. You may have multiple travel assignments and extensions of assignments, but each original assignment plus extensions at one location must be less than a year.
  4. All tax questions should be directed to your personal tax advisor. The ideal tax advisor is a licensed professional who has experience working with those who take temporary work assignments away from their homes.

To learn ALL the qualifying details of the non-taxable travel reimbursement benefits, please consult a licensed Tax Consultant, or visit the IRS at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p463.pdf.

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