RV travel nurses: How to receive tax-free stipends

Hey there, RV travel nurse! Can I say how jealous I am of your life choices? I have always dreamed of living in an RV part of the year! I’ll keep living vicariously through you until I get my own. But for now, let’s dive in and talk about how living in an RV impacts your pay as a travel nurse. 

As travel nurses, our living situation can impact the reimbursements we can receive while traveling. The RV has to function as our second home to receive our housing stipends or meal reimbursements (the tax-free money).

A travel nurse needs two housing expenses while they travel to get tax-free reimbursements. 

First, you have a tax home. That’s house #1. You first need to follow the tax home rules to make sure that the first home is set up to be legally considered your tax home. Then, you can have an RV that you will pay to park close to your assignment in addition to paying rent at your tax home. That makes your RV house #2. 

House #1: You are paying rent at a tax home. 

House #2: You are paying to rent a spot to put your RV on.

Here are two ways you would not qualify for tax-free money: If your RV is your only home so therefore you are not duplicating your housing expenses. Or if you do have a tax home, but you are not paying to rent a spot to park the RV on. Then the IRS views the RV more like a car. So you can’t park your RV in a friend’s driveway and get tax-free stipends. You do have to rent a place to park it on, so you have duplicate housing expenses. 

The tax-free money you receive every week is there as reimbursement for having duplicate meals and housing costs. If you’re not duplicating your housing expenses in the way the IRS needs you to for this benefit, you are not eligible to receive this money tax-free. 

How to travel without a tax home

If your RV is your only home, it sounds like you were born to travel! And I love that! The only thing you, an RV travel nurse, need to know is this type of travel does not qualify you for tax-free money.

Tons of RV travel nurses and regular travel nurses do this!

We have to follow many rules to be eligible for tax-free money, but there are no rules that say we have to have two homes to be a contract nurse. So if you only have one home, you can travel, make around the same gross income as a traveler, but it will all be taxed.

Cheers to RV travel nurses living life on the road (literally)!

Hey friends. This is really important. I am not a tax advisor, and the information I provide on this blog about taxes is not legal advice. So please, don’t treat a blog, Facebook, or your recruiter as your tax advisor. But please, learn some theories here and get some great context to go to your tax advisor with questions about your unique situation!

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Laura Latimer

Travel OT and Founder of Nomadicare

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