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I think I said yes and should have said no

Posted

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

I recently went per diem and took a 13 week 'travel' contract at a hospital 60 miles from my home. I'm mostly commuting, although sometimes staying with friends in that town. Because I live >40 miles from this facility I am eligable for a per diem travel allowence, which is tax free.

A co-worker of mine at my regular hospital, where I am per diem, called me out of the blue. She had gone back to New Mexico on a LOA recently to help her parents. She went per diem as well, no one knew if she was coming back since everyone knew she had marital problems, didn't like this area, and wanted to be in New Mexico.

She told me that she had taken a contract at the same hospital where I am fulfilling my contract, although with a different agency. She requested that she use my address so she can also get the tax loophole. I said yes, and told her to use our house next door, which we own but are renovating and is empty. I didn't have time to talk, especially since she started on a long whine about what she hates about our other job, she is a negative person prone to long whines. I told her I would call her back to discuss it further.

One thing, in my town, since it's very small, no one has mail delivery. You must have a PO box in order to pick up the mail. So, I've been trying to call her back to let her know about this. Also, I'm having second thoughts about co-operating with what is actually tax fraud.

Everytime I try to call, a message comes on 'This caller is not accepting calls'. I'm really feeling PO'd, 1) because I feel she put me on the spot with her request and regret my hasty yes, 2) because I now can't get in touch with her.

Grrrr, now I don't know what to do!

GeminiTwinRN, BSN

Specializes in ICU/PCU/Infusion. Has 13 years experience.

If the **** hits the fan, I'd plead ignorance and leave it at that. I agree, you probably should have said no, but under the circumstances, it really seemed an inocuous thing to do, I'm sure.

I hope you can get in touch with her about the PO box thing though. Maybe there's still time to change your mind?

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

I called work, the only other number they have didn't work. I know her husband is still up here, but they must only use cellphones, the number listed in the phone book doesn't work. According to the nursing supervisor, as far as she knows this woman is still in New Mexico.

I also think that it is probably of little concern, but what does concern me is that you have no way of contacting her. You have something important to discuss with her and she is out in the blue somewhere. I hope you can get hold of her soon and that her lack of a proper mailing address does not come back at her. At least you know what your answer will be should this subject ever come up again. And I'll bet that it will. If it were me I would also claim ignorance if questioned. After all, she hasn't called you back to confirm details.

I have made mistakes like this. Over the years I learned to say "I have to think about it". It is better than yes or no. People hit you with stuff like that hoping to get you to say yes before you get a chance to think about it. But they still get me sometimes.

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

Yes, I use that too, but this time I was totally caught off guard, was tired, and said yes without thinking.

A bit off topic here but if you are actually commuting from your tax home rather than incurring what amounts to duplicated expenses: that per diem is NOT tax free as you appear to believe. Doesn't matter if it's 40 miles or 200 miles.

What your friend is asking is dicey. Even assuming that furnishing a PO box automatically establishes a tax home (which it does not) I'm assuming that your friend's intention is to say that she is rentlng from you since she doesn't own the property. But any rents received by you are taxable income and should have been reported. Now granted, she would have to prove she paid rent but do you REALLY want to be involved in that kind of mess?

My advice: Obtain competent tax advice from someone with experience in the travel nursing industry. This usually means either an enrolled agent or a CPA. Relying upon a travel company recruiter for tax advice can be very risky.

Secondly..be honest/do the right thing. Stretching the rules can bite you in the butt when you least expect it.

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

The per diem tax allowance IS allowable, I already checked with my CPA and have spoken with other nurses who have used this loophole. I already went through that on another thread and don't care to revisit it, thanks.

I'll take the advise to deny involvement, if asked. I will continue to attempt to contact her, but I will deny it if asked. She is being irresponsible to fail to leave me a way to communicate with her. She can still pursue a contract, at a higher hourly rate, without the per diem travel allowence.

The per diem tax allowance IS allowable, I already checked with my CPA and have spoken with other nurses who have used this loophole. I already went through that on another thread and don't care to revisit it, thanks.

No problem. Out of curiousity I checked that "other thread" and found that you were given the correct information (several times) which you chose to disregard. In the future you will find yourself either fudging the truth about commuting the vast majority of the time or paying the IRS some big bucks --but suit yourself.

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

No problem. Out of curiousity I checked that "other thread" and found that you were given the correct information (several times) which you chose to disregard. In the future you will find yourself either fudging the truth about commuting the vast majority of the time or paying the IRS some big bucks --but suit yourself.

Good Grief :rolleyes:

OK, you may have the last word. :coollook:

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

I called the mother of my daughter's friend who is a CPA also. I told her "remember I told you about that per diem travel allowence" then proceeded to fill her in on this little scenario. She told me, the weight of this is on my co-worker, that if the IRS audits her, that I just need to tell them I know nothing about it. She said to be sure and tell this gal that I don't intend to back her up if she gets audited, if I can ever get in touch with her. She didn't understand why she'd want to take the chance. I don't either since, if you don't take the travel allowence you get a much higher rate of pay, so it's worth it no matter what.

Go take a drive and find that "friend" in person. Get her out of your property. Do it. Do it now. You do not want IRS trouble. Do you?

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

I finally ran into this nurse at the hospital where she has now started her contract. The whole situation and her attitude rather galls me.

I told her that I tried a bunch of times to call her. Her response? "Oh, I turned off my phone". I told her that I wanted her to know that if anyone asks me that I will not lie. I won't be telling the IRS that she is really renting this empty house. I told her that this is tax fraud. She responded by telling me that the agency told her to do this! I'm not sure if that's true or not, but the whole thing disgusts me.

I also told her that where I live, you need to have a P.O. box, since there is no mail delivery, and that she'd need to get a P.O. box, and I can't help her with that either.

She then went into a big whine about our other place of employment. Really, the whole thing leaves an very bad taste in my mouth, I don't think I like this woman. :no:

BradleyRN

Specializes in Med Surg, LTC, Home Health. Has 28 years experience.

Out of curiousity I checked that "other thread" and found that you were given the correct information (several times) which you chose to disregard.

It sounds like you have a little too much time on your hands.

I told her that I tried a bunch of times to call her. Her response? "Oh, I turned off my phone".

She knew why you were calling. Her attitude is so terrible that anything goes. The next time you see her, tell her that if she doesnt change her address, you will turn her in yourself. Explain that her rudeness has played a key role in this decision. She is obviously not a friend, and doesnt deserve one second of your worry.

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