Disclaimer: We’re not accountants or lawyers and the information provided here is based on a layperson’s perspective on travel nursing taxes. For tax advice, please consult an accountant, like the experts at TravelTax.com.
Ahhh, tax season: easily the worst season of the year for some travel nurses. But it doesn’t have to be so painful. Here’s how to get organized so it’s smooth sailing come April.
Your tax toolbox
Keep all your tax documents and professional paperwork in one place. Here’s what we suggest:
- For your paperwork: A large accordion folder or other tabbed organizer or envelope works well.
- For your mileage log: A small notepad with one of your million pharmaceutical pens clipped to it is a simple solution. Or, apps like these can automate the process.
- For your receipts: A small accordion folder, tabbed index card holder, or a receipt envelope does the trick. TravelTax will even send you one for free. For digital dames and dudes, there are apps for that, too.
Rules of the road
Now that you have your docs in a row, it’s time to put it all together. To help you with that, here are the Top Ten Tax Rules to keep you on track for filing on time and acing an audit.
- Keep copies of all your contracts. This is first thing that any travel nurse tax expert will tell you. Your contracts are your most important tax documents.
- Start early. You don’t want to wait until the night before, only to realize you’re missing some vital documents.
- Keep your tax paperwork and receipts for seven years. If you don’t want to keep the actual paper trail, scan or take pictures of your documents. Anything older than seven years can be shredded or deleted.
- Keep your pay stubs. They prove how much you were paid and are excellent backup in case of clerical errors.
- Keep your receipts. You can always throw them out later if you realize you don’t need them.
- Label your receipts so you can verify the expense.
- Maintain your mileage log. Every entry should have:
- starting and ending locations
- number of miles driven
- reason for the trip
- date(s) traveled
- Keep a travel expense record for each assignment. The IRS explains expenses here. Use a notebook, spreadsheet, or software like Mint or Quicken, which can transfer to tax software when it’s time to file.
- Stay up-to-date. Review your logs, organize your receipts, and update your records after every assignment or on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Use your resources. The internet, your colleagues, and tax professionals are available to help. You don’t have to do everything by yourself.
Looking for more on how to prepare for tax season? Check out our guide on everything you need to know about travel nurse taxes.