Help! If I take a Permanent Job, How Will This Affect My Tax Home?

globe covid mask

Life has changed dramatically with COVID, especially life as a traveler, healthcare or otherwise! We’ve had several calls recently from travelers asking: “Due to COVID, travel contracts are scarce, and I’ve been offered a permanent job.  If I take a permanent job outside of my tax home, how will this affect my tax home?”

Taking a permanent job shifts the tax home to that new location unless you have more income from another location. The reality is that you have got to work, and travel contracts are scarce or being canceled, so what do you do? You can take the permanent job for however long you need to; however, your tax home will shift.

If you are planning to go back to traveling after all this blows over, and want to use your previous tax home, then you will mostly likely need to reestablish it.  How do you reestablish that tax home? By earning significant income in the area that is fully taxed. You might ask, what is “significant income”? Well, considering that the traveling life is divided into 3-month intervals and one could work 4 assignments a year. A starting point is 2-3 months of income in that new location.

Really Dumb Tax Articles

ny covid

I have been reading articles like the one linked below and it reminds me yet again, how really ignorant the media is about taxes (or anything else requiring some thought). In fact, the list of tax ignoramuses in my book consists of

  1. Media
  2. Mortgage underwriters
  3. Most investment advisers
  4. Diners at Waffle House

The article decries the fact that NY is taxing the wages of those healthcare professionals who came to NY from out of state to help with the COVID patients. Why is this such a dumb article? The workers in NY would have to pay taxes on the same income to their home state – someone failed to read that memo. If the NY is allowed to tax it, then the home state will credit them for the NY taxes.

I was a Respiratory Therapist for 25 years and working in the worst areas of exposure is the equivalent of combat. I get that and support whatever things can be done to reward those that put themselves in harm’s way during our national emergency. But this is just another example of how the media sensationalizes by omission.

Here is one of the articles: NY Taxing Out of State Healthcare Workers

Free Housing for Front Line Workers

hotel

We’ve had this question multiple times in the last 2 weeks. Here is the scenario:

“My pay package includes a housing stipend because I am finding housing on my own. However, hotels are offering free stays for front-line workers, that is not provided by my company or the hospitals. At the hotel I do pay for parking. What will happen to the housing stipend if I accept the free stay at the hotel, considering I have to duplicate expenses?”

The answer is that you will need to duplicate expenses for lodging since the lodging is being provided by a third party. The solution is to pay SOMETHING to the hotel, maybe a tip to the housekeeping staff or for other amenities that they offer that you will use in the room.  Parking does not count as lodging expenses, unless you are a hippie! : ) Under the rules there needs to be SOME expense to trigger the exclusion of the per diems.

Get Ready for the Recovery Episode 2

surgery 2

In an earlier post, I pointed out that our home state was preparing to restart the elective surgeries that have been on hold during COVID. This piece of news is from Canada and although the Canadian health system has different logistics, the same pent up demand is present

Many of our healthcare clients are out of work or furloughed waiting for the procedures to begin. Its rough holding on but the recovery is coming so hang in there!

How Hospitals will Handle the Surgery Backlog