Personal Finance / Filing Taxes
Two words that most people detest most around this time of year is “tax season”. Nurses already have a stressful schedule and adding the tax filing process on top of it can compound their stress.
Fortunately, we have created a guide to offset any burden or confusion when it comes to filing as a nurse.
Specifically, this post will cover the following:
- Tips for filing taxes as a nurse
- Potential tax write-offs for nurses
- Overview of travel nurse contracts
Tips for filing taxes as a nurse
There are a lot of dimensions to filing taxes that many people don’t understand or fully grasp. For example, nurses may not totally appreciate the full scope of what they can write off. Below are some tips for filing taxes.
Keep a paper trail
Don’t lose your receipts. In fact, hold onto them. This is one of the most important things to remember.
You need a paper trail for purchases made throughout the year. This is the only way you can prove you bought anything, and it gives your accountant a way to justify covering the cost in your return.
Know your state’s tax laws
Every state has a different set of tax laws. So, you need to understand the rules wherever you live. Florida, for example, doesn’t have income tax.
Some states use a flat rate to calculate income taxes. Others have a progressive tax rate. So, it’s important to know your state’s tax rules. Once you do, you know what you’ll pay in taxes.
Don’t forget the IRS as well. You’ll need to figure out the amount of your federal income tax.
Report all income
If you end up doing any side work as a nurse (such as consulting or writing), it’s imperative to report that if the company does not provide you with a W-2 or 1099 form. You are responsible for paying taxes on that money. This is vital for non-bedside nurses such as nurse writers or legal nurse consultants.
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Potential tax write-offs for nurses
The costs of being a nurse can’t be overstated. Nurses often pay up to $14,000 just to practice every year.
But did you know many of the costs associated with nursing can be written off?
Here are some of the most common tax write-offs that nurses can claim, according to Nurse.org.
- Uniforms, including scrubs, medical shoes, and scrub coats
- Equipment, such as your stethoscope, penlights, scissors, etc.
- Licensing fees, i.e., anything you pay to keep your nursing license, or any state registrations
- Continuing education costs, including the fees, meals, and travel to conferences or continuing education courses
- Expenses related to staying current in your profession, such as journal access fees, subscriptions to publications in your field, and professional organization membership dues
Overview of travel nurse contracts
Travel nurses have a unique tax situation since they can receive stipends as incentives to work, as well as reimbursements.
When travel nurses sign their contracts, they need to make sure all reimbursements and stipend qualifications are specified in the contract. Also, travel nurses need to make sure their hours are guaranteed.
Not all travel nurse contracts guarantee hours. For example, if it’s a low census day and there aren’t a lot of patients, the hospital may pay nurses for those hours, though some may not. As a travel nurse, you should be able to cancel your contract at any time.
If you are a travel nurse, you can work in one state for up to a year before you become a permanent resident. The travel companies can pay you to relocate within the state.
For stipends, nurses need to live at least 50 miles away from the facility where they work to get stipends. Travel nurses can live closer than 50 miles, but they won’t receive that extra benefit. Also, travel nurses can only receive stipends for a year.
Stipends are taxed differently. Make sure you are meeting the requirements of your travel nurse contract.
Another option to consider is local travel nursing, which is travel nursing within their state.
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