Nursing can be a grueling profession, with long hours, extensive educational requirements and chronic stress. But you might not have to pay for all of the expenses associated with your job. The Internal Revenue Service offers several tax deductions that are particularly helpful to nurses, including deductions for training, uniforms and the cost of membership in a professional organization.
General Business Expenses
Several business deductions are available to any qualified person. These include the costs of business-related travel. If you're self-employed as a nurse, you might drive hundreds of miles each day, and you can deduct these miles at the standard mileage rate -- 56.5 cents per mile as of 2013. You can only claim a mileage deduction if you're not reimbursed for it, and you can't claim a deduction for miles you drive to and from work. Supplies you purchase for work, such as a new stethoscope, work-related software, furniture and similar items, are also deductible. If you pay for a cell phone to be on call, you can deduct this as well.
Education and Licensing
You can deduct the fees you pay for your state nursing license, as well as costs associated with licensing, such as board examinations. The costs of educational courses, as well as educational material and travel expenses you incur as part of job training, are tax deductible. If you need educational material for your job, you can deduct what you pay for them. For example, if you purchase an anatomy book or a diagnostic manual, these are deductible.
Nursing union dues are deductible. The costs of membership in a professional nursing organization, subscriptions to nursing organization publications and the costs of attending nursing seminars and conferences are also deductible. You can't deduct donations to nursing political action committees, but you can deduct donations you make to eligible nursing charities.
Tools and Clothing
While clothing that is fit for wear outside of work is not tax deductible, many nurses wear uniforms or scrubs, and you can deduct these. You can also deduct the costs of cleaning or laundering these clothes. Any tools you need for work, including specific shoes, sanitizing supplies, medical equipment and similar items, can also be deducted. If you need protective gear, such as eye goggles or surgical masks, you can deduct the costs of acquiring these.
You can only itemize and deduct business expenses if they exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. The IRS offers a standard deduction based on your filing status; if your deductions are less than this amount, you can save more money by taking the standard deduction. Although you don't have to attach receipts to your return, you can't estimate your expenses. The deductions must be precise amounts, and you'll need to retain receipts, bills or other proof in case you are audited.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.