Med Student Expenses

Today TaxMama hears from Quincy in New York who wants to know “Can a medical student deduct the expenses of traveling, lodging and meals when looking for internships and residencies? If so, what are the rates? Also, can I deduct the expenses of the board tests ($1,500), and books for school?”

Dear Quincy,

Hmmm…interesting question…looking for internships is really a combination of job hunting and education. You do get paid as an intern, right? It’s not just indentured servitude, correct?

If being an intern is a paying job, you can treat the related expenses as job hunting. If you had enough overall expenses to itemize, you would deduct the costs on Form 2106.
http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f2106.pdf

You can find details and references to related forms here. http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc514.html

You will find the mileage rates here for 2008 – use the business rates. http://taxquips.com/index.php?id=1050

For overnight travel, you will the per diem rates here.

http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do?contentType=GSA_BASIC&contentId=17943

Books and exams won’t be employee business expenses, since they are designed to qualify you for a new career – i.e. you’re not a doctor until after you pass the exams. Just like a practicing accountant can’t deduct the cost of studying for and taking the CPA exam. It’s a new career.

But you might be able to use those costs towards the general education credit or expenses.

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/

There’s a lot to read. But you know your own situation better than I do. Or, save time and invest in an hour with a good local tax pro to see if s/he can find a better way to help you use those expenses

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about vindictive W2s and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com

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