Tax Guide for Travel Nurses: Managing Accommodation and Travel Charges

Travel nurses are subject to different tax laws than regular employees since they receive per diem allowances and reimbursement for travel expenditures. For independent contractors, self-employed people, and business owners, it might be difficult to maximize tax savings and file taxes accurately. Understanding self-employment tax rates, deductions, and expected tax payments is essential to managing tax obligations.

Tax Rate on Self-Employment

Independent contractors that provide travel nursing services must pay self-employment taxes, which also cover Social Security and Medicare taxes. 15.3% is the self-employment tax rate; 2.9% goes into Medicare, while 12.4% goes toward Social Security. Self-employed people bear the full tax burden, as opposed to regular employees who split the cost with their employers.

Travel nurses can use Schedule SE (Form 1040) to find the percentage of their taxable income that is subject to self-employment tax. To correctly report earnings and deductions on tax forms, accurate cost and receipt documentation is necessary.

Self-employment Tax deductions 

Travel nurses can lower their taxable income and self-employment tax burden by utilizing a number of deductions. Typical deductions for independent contractors consist of:

  1. Home office expenses: When working from home, travel nurses can write off a portion of their rent, mortgage, or utility bills.
  2. Travel expenses: When traveling for business, expenses for meals, accommodation, mileage, and transportation are all deductible.
  3. Health insurance premiums: Self-employed people are eligible to write off the expense of both their own and their dependents’ health insurance.
  4. Continuing education: Conferences, seminars, certification fees, and other associated charges are all deductible as long as they help you retain or advance your professional abilities.
  5. For self-employed people, contributions to retirement funds, like a Solo 401(k) or SEP IRA, are tax deductible.

Through careful record-keeping of their expenditures and the utilization of all available deductions, travel nurses can reduce their taxable income and self-employment tax obligations.

Projected Income Statements

Travel nurses are self-employed, so in order to avoid underpayment penalties, they must pay estimated taxes throughout the year. The person’s anticipated income and tax liability for the year are used to calculate estimated tax payments, which are sometimes required on a quarterly basis.

Travel nurses can estimate their annual income and deductions using the IRS’s tax withholding estimator and Form 1040-ES, which calculates projected tax payments. Self-employed people can stay out of trouble and make sure they have enough saved up to cover their tax obligations by accurately and on time paying their estimated taxes.

Because they work for themselves and have variable income and expenses, travel nurses need to be proactive and organized when it comes to paying their taxes.


Travel nurses may find it challenging to comprehend their self-employment tax requirements, travel expenditures, and per diem perks. Freelancers, entrepreneurs, and self-employed people can optimize their tax savings and efficiently handle their tax responsibilities by being aware of the self-employment tax rates, deductions, and projected tax payments.

To reduce tax penalties and improve their financial position, travel nurses must maintain thorough records, fully utilize deductions, and pay estimated taxes on time. Consulting with an accountant or tax professional can also be very beneficial for self-employed persons in the healthcare field seeking direction and assistance while navigating the special tax problems that they confront.

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