This article is a little late for tax season, but it’s never too early to start looking into the many ways you can save money and maximize your returns for the next year. People from all walks of life often miss out on obscure or unusual deductions, and this includes nurses. Medical professionals have a wide and unique range of work expenses that they could and should be including in their taxes when they file.

We know taxes are probably the last thing on your mind (and in your schedule) so we’ve done our best to make the task a little easier by showing you specific deductions and other strategies that you, as a nurse or other medical superhero, need to factor in next April. Use this guide as a starting point, but be sure to check in with a CPA or other tax accountant to assure that you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck.

Types of Tax Deductions for Nurses

Before we get into the “fun” stuff, it’s important to know a couple deductions basics, that will help you to understand how and why to make certain kinds of deductions, as well as the legal requirements you need to follow. There are two types of deductions that you will need to choose between, depending on your expenses:Standard Deduction is a flat dollar amount that can be deducted by employees in any industry, which reduces the amount of taxable income held by an individual. The number changes each year, and is dependent on inflation and other economic factors. For 2019 taxes, the standard deductible will be 12,000 dollars for single individuals, and 24,000 for married couples. Itemized Deduction is exactly what it sounds like. Every purchase made for your job including uniform, travel, equipment, etc. is carefully recorded with receipts to back up dollar amount claims, and factored into your taxes.

Which type of deduction you choose to make will be entirely based on the amount of money you spend on work throughout the year. The best strategy is to keep detailed and meticulous records of your expenses, and let that amount decide for you which route you’re going to take. It’s easier to take the standard deduction, but if your yearly costs exceed the 12,000 for 2019, you should consider filing an itemized deduction for a greater return on your taxes.

Tax Deductions for Nurses

This is the exciting part. You probably know about some of the possible deductions listed below already, like educational costs and travel expenses, but the wide and varied field of nursing offers a plethora of options, credits, and deductibles that will help your finances in the coming season.

The Basics

Standard expenses which most people forget about include standard life-operating expenses. Be sure to check with the IRS to see if your specific costs are eligible as deductions.

  • Child and dependent care is partially deductible in most states.
  • Interest on mortgages, student loans, and other borrowed money can often be deducted in full.
  • Charitable donations made to non-profits or charity organizations are always fully deductible.


Educational costs include those payments made towards earning your nursing degree, as well as any continuing education required by your employer. These will need to be included on your taxes the same year that you paid them.

  • Qualified student loans, as well as interest on student loans may be deducted.
  • Continuing education required by your employer (including skill maintenance and those specific to your place of work) that is not paid for by your employer can be deducted.
  • Tuition and educational fees trigger a deduction for qualifying individuals of up to $4000.

Work Expenses

This includes anything you need to do your job. This includes supplies, home office equipment, even your uniform.

  • Scrubs, lab coats, non-slip nursing shoes, and compression socks are all deductible items.
  • Protective gear, sanitizing supplies, and medical equipment such as your personal stethoscope can be written off.
  • Dry cleaning, uniform alterations and repair may additionally be written off, as they are needed to maintain the integrity of your job.
  • Other supplies such as a med bag, home office supplies and equipment, even your cell phone expenses if required for work can be deducted.

Just For Travel Nurses

If you work as a travel nurse, you may be qualified for special deductions due to the unique nature of your work life.

  • Lodging, meals, car rental, airfare, and parking fees and tolls are all deductible while working and in transit to and from your next work site.

That’s not all! Depending on where you live and work, there might be other, even bigger deductions you can make on your taxes next year. Go to the IRS website and check out their tax tips for individuals to see where you can continue to save.

Need a few tools to bolster your continuing education? Check out another article by Medely, Anatomy Study Guides for Nurse Students for books, programs, and games that will keep your knowledge and terminology scalpel-sharp. Medely is a platform that helps nurses set their own schedules and work on their own terms by delivering per-diem opportunities right to your phone. If you want a schedule that’s easier on your nerves, you can sign up here for free.