Essential tax advice for travel nurses

nurse-doing-taxesWhen you’re living a mobile lifestyle, it’s doubly important to stay organized.

Here to keep your feet from getting tangled in the details of multi-state employment is Joseph Smith, travel healthcare industry tax professional, with tips and advice on the most common tax issues for traveling nurses.

1. Know that you will pay taxes and file in each work state.

There are some exceptions, but in general, you pay taxes to the state you physically work in.

2. Know that you will pay taxes to your home state on ALL income.

Don’t worry, you won’t be taxed twice. Your home state will give you a credit for what you paid to the work state.

3. When negotiating contracts, remember that tax-free amounts are REIMBURSEMENTS.

You must qualify for tax-free reimbursements for lodging, meals, car and travel. If not, these should be treated as taxable income.

4. Find good tax help.

Since you’ll be working in multiple states and dealing with complicated tax law, find a tax professional who is familiar and comfortable with a mobile professional. The tax chains rarely have preparers who understand the healthcare travel industry.

5. Keep good records.

You or your tax professional will have an easier time preparing your tax return if you have good records. Keep a copy of every contract! You may need it if you get audited, or even to prove your hours to renew your healthcare license. Keep these on hand for six years. If you buy a home, the mortgage company will need a copy of your tax return for proof of income.

The best way to keep track of your assignments is to keep the following:

  • A monthly employee expense log
  • An assignment organizer
  • A minimum mileage log
  • A sheet to keep track of your trips home.


Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith worked for three years as a travel respiratory therapist and started, a service that caters to the travel healthcare professional. TravelTax, LLC, is well known in the travel healthcare industry and serves a substantial number of domestic and international mobile professionals and their staffing agencies. Joseph conducts numerous tax seminars for travelers and recruiters throughout the nation, and is a regular contributor to tax articles in a number of national publications including Healthcare Traveler and Locum Life. Visit for a wealth of free information for the mobile professional.

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5 Responses to Essential tax advice for travel nurses

  1. Samantha R.

    What valuable information- having never been a traveler myself, I’ve never thought about the hassle it must be to deal with taxes if you had, let’s say, four different assignments in a year. I think the best advice is find somebody to help you who has experience with the traveling healthcare industry. I imagine staying organized and keeping good records would be difficult when moving from place to place but I think getting a portable file cabinet/carrier would be ideal to keep records organized. Great information for any traveler to know!

  2. Thanks for this advice, taxes are scary enough for most people who just work in one state. Is there any software you recommend for travel nurses?

  3. Pingback: Make your travel nursing taxes easy with these resources | Travel Nursing Blog

  4. This helped me a lot with my taxes, I really could save some money. So this article is great, thanks a lot.

  5. For me as a travel nurse in love, it is important to save money where I can, so I can spend a nice romantic weekend.