How to File Taxes as a Travel Nurse

Examine the tax issues that travel nurses face, spanning dual-state residency to tax home assessment. Investigate filing methods and essential papers to approach tax season confidently.
How to file taxes as a travel nurse
How to File Taxes as a Travel Nurse
Read about the complexities of taxation for travel nurses, including dual-state residence and tax home filing tips. With 1.7 million travel nurses in the United States, this guide simplifies tax deductions and returns for travel nurses.
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Embarking on a profession as a travel nurse introduces a unique set of challenges, especially regarding taxes. Juggling multiple state filings and grappling with unfamiliar concepts like per diems can make tax season seem like a formidable journey. Statistics show that about 1.7 million travel nurses are employed in the United States. Considering that those in the 10th percentile earn a minimum annual salary of $120,000, nurses aspiring to explore the world might find travel nursing appealing.

How to file taxes as a travel nurse? This guide will explore essential aspects like dual-state residency, tax home determination, and filing procedures. By the end, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to tackle your taxes confidently as a travel nurse. Most tax preparation services demand extra costs for submitting state forms, but the Beem does it at the best price to ensure you the maximum refund.

Understanding Tax Considerations for Travel Nurses

Navigating the tax landscape as a travel nurse demands a keen understanding of employment status. Whether categorized as an agency employee, independent contractor, or self-employed, your tax obligations and deductions hinge on this distinction.

Dual-State Residency

As a travel nurse traversing state lines, residency issues become pivotal. States employ varying criteria to determine residency, scrutinizing factors like working time, permanent home maintenance, and economic ties. A specialized tax professional can guide you through this intricate landscape, ensuring adherence to state-specific requirements.

Tax Home Determination

Defining your tax home is paramount for travel nurses. Your tax home, where you consistently work, significantly impacts deductions and credits. This guide advises meticulous documentation of assignments and returns between contracts, facilitating an accurate tax home determination crucial for optimizing your tax benefits.

State Tax Filings

While crisscrossing states, acknowledging your home state’s role in tax obligations is vital. Even with assignments in diverse locations, filing a tax return in your home state may be mandatory. Uncover potential tax credits or deductions your home state offers for income taxes paid elsewhere, mitigating tax liability and preventing double taxation. Thorough research and professional advice are key to navigating your home state’s tax laws.

Gathering Tax Documents for Travel Nurses

With the 2023 tax season looming, preparation is the linchpin for a smooth experience for both seasoned and novice travel nurses. This emphasizes the importance of proactive planning, urging the collection of essential documents, and seeking professional advice. Starting early allows ample time to address uncertainties and ensures a seamless tax season.

W-2 Forms:

Collecting W-2 and 1099 forms from each employer is central to your tax preparation. These documents are the bedrock of your financial reporting, detailing income earned and taxes withheld. A meticulous gathering of these forms lays the foundation for accurate and efficient tax filing.

Travel Expense Records

As a travel nurse, meticulous tracking of travel-related expenses is paramount. Lodging, meals, and transportation costs can be tax-deductible, offering potential savings. This section encourages diligent record-keeping to maximize deductions and streamline tax preparation.

State Licensing Fees

Navigating the tax landscape involves considering state-specific obligations. Keeping records of state taxes paid, as well as renewals for licenses and certifications, is crucial. This proactive approach ensures compliance and may open avenues for tax credits. Reviewing any relevant tax forms or instructions from professionals enhances your overall tax preparedness.

Tax Deductions and Credits for Travel Nurses

Navigating the tax landscape as a travel nurse opens doors to potential deductions and credits. Here are key areas to explore to help you optimize your tax benefits:

Travel Expenses

Deduct costs for transportation, lodging, meals, and incidentals while away from your tax home. Detailed record-keeping is essential, ensuring accurate reporting with receipts and documentation.

Meal Expenses

Explore deductions for meal expenses incurred during work-related travel. Keeping track of these costs can contribute to lowering your taxable income.

Uniform and Scrub Expenses

The costs associated with purchasing and maintaining work attire, including uniforms, scrubs, shoes, and essential supplies, are eligible for deduction.

State Licensing Fees

Fees paid to maintain nursing licenses across different states are generally deductible. This includes renewals and related expenses, contributing to potential tax savings. Remember to maintain precise records and seek guidance from a tax professional to align your deductions with IRS guidelines.

Let’s look at the travel nurse’s taxable and nontaxable income.

Income TypeTaxableNon-Taxable
StipendsNoYes (Reimbursements for expenses)
Base SalaryYesNo
Overtime PayYesNo
Housing AllowanceYesNo
Travel ReimbursementYesNo
Meal AllowanceYesNo

Note: The taxability of income can vary based on individual circumstances, tax laws, and IRS regulations. Travel nurses need to consult with tax professionals for personalized advice.

Tax Filing Procedures for Travel Nurses

  • Document Gathering: Assemble crucial tax paperwork like W-2 forms, 1099-MISC forms, and any pertinent income or expense records.
  • Select Filing Method: Choose between manual paper filing and the swifter, more convenient electronic filing option.
  • Tax Return Preparation: Complete the necessary tax forms, such as Form 1040 or 1040A, detailing income, deductions, and credits.
  • Thorough Review: Scrutinize your tax return meticulously, ensuring precision in reporting all income sources and deductions.
  • Submission of Tax Return: Send your tax return by the deadline, typically April 15th, unless an extension is granted.
  • Settle Tax Obligations: If you owe taxes, promptly submit the payment alongside your tax return to prevent penalties and interest accrual.
  • Consider Professional Assistance: Contemplate utilizing tax software or hiring a professional tax preparer for a streamlined and accurate filing process.

Tax Home Determination

Your home state, where your permanent residence is maintained, influences your tax responsibilities. Even if you work in diverse states, you might still need to file a tax return in your home state. Some states provide credits or deductions for income taxes paid elsewhere, mitigating double taxation. Thoroughly research your home state’s tax laws and seek guidance from a tax professional.

State Tax Returns

Crucial for travel nurses is grasping state tax rules—file in each state of employment and your permanent tax home. The IRS doesn’t view assignments under 12 months as changing primary state residence. Some states allow deductions for job-related expenses despite federal changes. Streamline preparation by keeping detailed records using document scanner apps or smartphone snapshots.

As a travel nurse or allied health professional, navigating state tax rules is paramount for accurate filings.

Multi-State Filing Requirement: File taxes in every state of employment and your permanent tax home.

Temporary Assignment Distinction: According to the IRS, working for less than 12 months in one location keeps your primary state of residence the same.

Deduction Opportunities at State Level: Some states still allow deductions for job-related expenses on your state tax return despite federal deduction changes.

Maintain meticulous records, including receipts for housing, mileage, uniforms, certifications, meals, and utilities, to facilitate smoother tax preparation. Utilize tools like document scanner apps or smartphone snapshots to keep these records organized as PDF files, ready for tax submission.

Tax Forms

W-4 form: As a travel nurse, completing a W-4 form is likely. This two-page document determines the portion of your income to be withheld for federal taxes from your paychecks.

1099-MISC Forms: The 1099-MISC form is crucial for travel nurses who operate as independent contractors. Issued by clients or agencies, it reports non-employee compensation. This includes earnings outside regular wages, like bonuses or miscellaneous income, helping track taxable payments for accurate tax filing.


In conclusion, while the life of a travel nurse brings exciting adventures, it also requires careful attention to tax considerations. You can confidently navigate tax season by understanding dual-state residency, accurately determining your tax home, and organizing essential documents. Take advantage of available deductions and credits, maximizing your tax benefits. With a proactive approach, filing taxes as a travel nurse becomes manageable, allowing you to concentrate on what you do best – providing exceptional healthcare wherever your journey takes you. You may file your taxes at the best prices with Beem regardless of your employment status.


Do travel nurses have to pay taxes on all income earned?

Yes, travel nurses are generally subject to taxes on all income earned, including wages, stipends, and reimbursements.

How can I qualify for non-taxed per diems?

To qualify for non-taxed per diem, meet IRS criteria by having a tax home and adhering to accountable plan rules.

Is travel nursing W2 or 1099?

Travel nursing can be W-2 or 1099, depending on employment arrangements with the agency or facility.

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This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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