2 Things Locum Tenens Need to Know About Taxes

January 22nd, 2014 2 Min read 2 Things Locum Tenens Need to Know About Taxes Blog
Tax season is upon us again, and the prospect of filing your taxes — especially if you’ve worked locum tenens assignments in multiple states — may be daunting. Here are two things you need to know about taxes, provided by our tax vice president, Doug Warrick: 1. Unemployment claims for locum tenens physicians. As an independent contractor, you generally should not file an unemployment claim based on the ending of your assignment period. You may file an unemployment claim if you previously worked as an employee and were terminated involuntarily. However, CompHealth should not be listed as a previous employer (because you were not an employee), nor should any compensation from CompHealth or any other locum tenens staffing agency’s compensation be reported as wages on the unemployment claim. Unemployment benefits are meant for employees, not independent contractors. RELATED: Tax Tips for New Locum Tenens Physicians 2. Reporting meal per diems on income tax returns. Unreimbursed out-of-town meal expenses are easy and often overlooked deductions that locum tenens physicians may claim on their income tax returns as independent contractors. Meal expenses are not typically reimbursed or otherwise paid by locum tenens staffing agencies. When traveling away from home on business, an independent physician may deduct 50 percent of all meal costs in one of three different ways:
  • Actual costs: Keep receipts of each meal to substantiate your actual costs. While simple, this can be an administrative burden and may not be worth the effort.
  • High-low per diem: This method permits a flat $68-per-day deduction for meals and incidental expenses for assignments in designated high-cost areas of the country. The per-day deduction is $57 for assignments in all other areas.
  • Standard meal allowance: The standard meal and incidental deduction rate is $51 per day, but many locations in the country qualify for higher rates ($51 to $74 per day). A mobile phone app that shows the meal per diem rates by location is also available for both Apple and Android phones. Just search “GSA per diem” in the app store. Note: You must be consistent with your meal per diem tracking method during the year. Because actual meal expenses or meal per diems are subject to a 50 percent deduction disallowance, only 50 percent of the meal and incidental per diem amount will actually be a deduction on your income tax return.
As always, we recommend that you seek professional tax advice when filing your taxes.


Lindsay Wilcox

Lindsay Wilcox

Lindsay Wilcox is a communication professional with experience writing for the healthcare and entertainment industries as well as local government. When she's not circling typos, she's enjoying fish tacos and hanging out with her family.

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