Talking Taxes: GSA Rates for Travel Nurses - The Gypsy Nurse

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By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

April 13, 2019

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Talking Taxes: GSA Rates

This installment discusses the GSA rates for travel nurses.  If you need to find out what the GSA rate is for your assignment city, the government GSA website is the place to go.

What is GSA?

The GSA rate is the maximum amount allowable tax-free by location for work related lodging, meals, and incidentals. Any amount over the GSA maximum for a location will be considered income and taxed as such.

If you are accepting GSA (tax-free) amounts from your travel nurse agency, it’s important to note that you cannot also receive agency provided housing – this would be considered ‘double dipping’. You are eligible for one or the other, not both.

Should my agency be paying me the full GSA rate for the city I’m working in?

It’s important to remember that rarely will a travel nurse agency actually pay you the full GSA rate for any given contract.  GSA Rates are simply a (guideline) maximum tax-free that you can receive for any given location.

What do I do if a company only pays me $35 per day when the GSA rate for a city is $71?

Unfortunately, with the new TAX REFORM, if your agency gives you less than the GSA allowable amount for per diems (meals, lodging, incidentals) you are no longer permitted to deduct the remaining amount.

To Summarize:

  1. Per the tax Reform: travel nurses are no longer allowed to deduct the difference between what’s paid and the full GSA.
  2. GSA is a set rate (by city/state) and anything paid over this amount will be subject to income tax.
  3. Check out the TOP 10 Questions for Travel Nurses on Taxes

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of GSA rates for travel nurses, and how they affect you.


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