Are you a self-employed travel nurse providing dedicated and long-term care for patients? You may be eligible to claim back expenses on your taxes for things like travel and other associated costs for your profession.

Find out everything you need to know about expense claims for your job in this article, including:

  • What can I claim on my taxes as a travel nurse?
  • How can I claim on my taxes?
  • What do I need to have for a successful claim?
  • How can Countingup help with my expenses?

What travel nurses can claim on their taxes

Unlike other nursing professionals who work directly for the NHS or as staff providing private care, travel nurses have different tax claim entitlements because they’re self-employed. This might be because you have more long-term arrangements with patients or their families wherein you’re paid by them and not a third party, like a nurse staffing agency. For this reason, your tax claims are slightly broader.

HMRC allows standard nursing professionals to claim a flat rate if they work in the NHS or private hospitals and nursing homes for things like uniforms and shoes. However, your tax relief is relative to your income. 

Below, we cover some of the main ways in which you might be eligible for tax relief as a travel nurse. Note that you should always keep receipts of costs you incur for work materials or as part of your work, as long as they’re reasonable.

Uniforms and clothing

As a healthcare professional, you will likely have some sort of work clothes for routine patient care. This might be things like scrubs, nursing tunics, PPE and shoes. Because they are for your job, you can claim them as expenses on your Self Assessment. However, they must be considered either part of a uniform or protective clothing for your work. 

You cannot claim back tax on personal clothing that you wear as part of your everyday life, even if you also wear it while working. Therefore, it may be considered best practice for your taxes to have a set of clothing and shoes you only wear for work purposes.

Medical tools, equipment and stationery

HMRC also offers tax relief for things like medical tools, equipment and office stationery. These can range from basic care items like bandages, thermometers and topical creams to more specialist items like nebulisers, blood-glucose monitors or pulse oximeters.

Depending on what you buy, you may have to explain why some items are needed as HMRC requires work expenses to be relevant and necessary. For example, evidencing why you’ve bought items to help acute patient care is straightforward. However, you may need to explain why certain items are being bought ‘just in case’. 

If you purchase computing items like laptops or tablets to help with tracking symptom presentation and long-term health, you can deduct these costs as well.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

As a registered nurse, the Nursing and Midwifery Council requires you to have appropriate indemnity cover arrangements in place to cover your practice. Therefore, you can claim the cost of your policy and coverage back on your taxes. 

Travel for work 

Travel expenses for work as a travel nurse may likely be the biggest part of your costs. It’s therefore essential you know how to navigate them. Generally speaking, you can only claim on travel costs for journeys you make because of your work. This does not count for regular commuting. For example, if you have a main patient home or facility where you work, you cannot claim travel expenses on these journeys. 

However, you will be able to claim on costs between patient homes or as part of offering care while accompanying your patient on journeys. This can include things like medical appointments, days out where you are working to facilitate their activities, or other purposes. You can claim on various costs including public transport, mileage on your personal vehicle or fuel you provide for the patient’s vehicle.

Professional subscriptions and training courses

As a nurse, you may be a member of a professional body like the Royal College or Nursing. You can claim membership costs and fees for training courses for your professional development back on your taxes. Expenses on professional courses should only be for training on skills relevant to your current job, rather than how to manage its business side more generally.

Before making a claim, you must make sure HMRC approves the society as you miss out on this reimbursement otherwise.

How to claim on your taxes

When claiming, add up all your allowable expenses for the tax year and put the total amount on your Self Assessment tax return. You’ll need to record or accurately estimate how much you spend on expenses so you only reimburse yourself the true amount of your costs.

You don’t need to send in proof of expenses (like receipts) when you submit your tax return, but you are required to keep any records for up to 5 years. This means you should have any and all relevant records available if asked for evidence.

What you’ll need for a successful claim

Successful claims are made using reasonable expenditure for your business costs and accurate record keeping. 

However, from 6 April 2023, you’ll need to keep any and all business records digitally using accounting software like Countingup. This is part of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital initiative to simplify taxes for self-employed people and make the filing process easier. Find out more in our article: What is Making Tax Digital (MTD)?

Save time recording expenses with a simple app

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. With automatic expense categorisation, expense reminders and a receipt capture tool, it automates time consuming financial admin so that you can focus on running your business. 

The simple app is helping thousands of people across the UK save time on tedious bookkeeping tasks. Find out more here and sign up for free today.