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Taxing Time

Healthcare Traveler (02/12) Joseph Smith

Before taking an assignment, health care travelers must understand the concept of a tax home or tax residence. Generally, a tax home/residence is where they earn most of their income, and when they have more than one job concurrently, it is the location of their primary, full-time job.

When health care travelers are negotiating with a staffing firm, tax-free allowances, stipends, per diems, and other reimbursements must be discussed because they become taxable compensation if the health care traveler lacks a tax home. These tax-free payments are intended as reimbursements for lodgings, meals, and transportation, and staffing firms must perform due diligence to determine whether the traveler has a tax home. Firms often will require them to complete a tax residence statement before taking an assignment. When auditing staffing firms, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service often uncovers discrepancies at the traveler level, increasing the likelihood that more individual travelers will be audited as well.