Talking Taxes: What kind of records does the IRS want?

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By The Gypsy Nurse

July 3, 2016



Talking Taxes: What Kind of Records Does the IRS Want Me to Keep?

We’re back talking taxes.  This installment discusses the records, receipts, and general paperwork that the travel nurse needs to track and maintain.  The IRS has specific requirements for reimbursements, and it’s important as a travel nurse to keep track of the right items.  The following recommendations from Daina at TravelTax will help you understand what to keep and what to toss.

What kind of receipts does the IRS want me to keep?

Nobody likes to live life by keeping receipts, and half the reason we hate to do it is that we are not sure of what to keep.   The privilege of deducting expenses requires us to substantiate the numbers, which means keeping receipts or logs.

In case of an audit, it is the receipts that the IRS will request; and don’t think your credit card bills are good enough. Sorry, but true. Credit card statements do not usually list out the items purchased and their individual prices, all it does that prove that you paid ‘Company X’ a $__?__ amount of money, not enough. So in a desire to help with what to keep as a traveler, we will attempt to give you a list.

How about if we start with what not to keep?

  • NO FOOD RECEIPTS!  Nothing, nada, no grocery receipts, no restaurant checks. Nothing that can be orally consumed. It all gets covered by taking a per diem. Even while you are on the road to your assignment, you can take a ¾ per diem. SO THROW THOSE 465 PIECES OF PAPER AWAY!
  • NO GAS RECEIPTS – EXCEPT FOR A RENTAL CAR. You are using actual costs; you cannot claim the standard mileage deduction. This is the only case where you need to keep gas receipts along with your mileage log because after you turn the auto in, you need to calculate the cost of personal gas vs. business gas.

What records do I need to keep?

  • Licenses
  • Job Physicals
  • Testing
  • Fingerprints/Verification
  • Professional memberships
  • Professional insurance
  • Uniforms/Work clothing
  • Work boots/Safety footwear
  • Safety / Protective equipment
  • Postage/Fax (not for shipping belonging to next assignment)
  • Books/Journals/Magazines
  • Union Dues
  • Supplies
  • Equipment
  • ATM fees
  • Legal fees (job-related)
  • Security clearance[/one_half] [one_half_last]
  • Computer cost
  • Impairment related work expenses (handicap related)
  • Cell phone (keep at least 3 months of itemized cell phone bills with minute usage)
  • Pager (at least one bill indicating monthly costs)
  • Internet (at least one bill indicating monthly costs)
  • CEUs (including travel expenses)
  • Laundry (if no receipts, keep a logbook of weekly costs)
  • Hotel stays
  • Shipping
  • Plane fares
  • Tolls
  • Parking
  • Taxi
  • Car rental (you still will need to keep a mileage log)
  • Transit fares (if no receipts, keep a logbook of weekly costs)

– Daina Smith, Travel Tax[/one_half_last]

To Summarize: 

I know that this sounds like a ton of record-keeping, and it is.  If you want to avoid any penalties from the IRS if you audited, these are all important items to keep.  TravelTax has a handy receipt envelope available from their website with all of this information listed on it and a handy mileage log.  Click the photo to order you. I just received mine, and I’m convinced it will be a great organizational tool.  Check out the TOP 10 Questions for Travel Nurses on Taxes.

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