Finance Blog

Temporary Work for Fun, Profit, and Retirement

Written by Eva Rosenberg on May 11, 2011 in Tax  |   No comments

Temporary Work for Fun, Profit, and Retirement By Eva Rosenberg, EA The most fun I’ve ever had working was doing temporary work. Between jobs, I updated my résumé, called up a couple of temp agencies, and pestered them each morning until they put me to…

Temporary Work for Fun, Profit, and Retirement
By Eva Rosenberg, EA

The most fun I’ve ever had working was doing temporary work. Between jobs, I updated my résumé, called up a couple of temp agencies, and pestered them each morning until they put me to work.

The beauty of temp agencies is that you get access to companies who might never have considered offering you an interview, much less a job. You get to evaluate them to see if they stack up as an employer to your standards. You don’t have to interview. You simply show up and do a good job. They’ll generally offer to hire you.

Here’s my retirement fantasy: before choosing a retirement destination, I’d travel around the country in my RV. I’d get familiar with people and communities by doing temp work for weeks or months at a time through Robert Half Accountemps®. (You’d choose the agency best suited to your talents.)

Not only would I make money and get job offers, but I’d also get to know a community through the people I met at work. Besides, there’s juicy material there for a book and a blog, don’t you think?

Temporary work offers two primary tax benefits:

1) When doing true temp work (see below), you can take a deduction for all your mileage and auto expenses.

2) When your temporary job takes you away from home overnight, you can deduct the cost of meals and lodging.

  • Deduct your actual costs for a hotel room or an apartment, or use the IRS’s per diem rates. (See TaxMama’s Resources for the per diem tables.) You must choose one or the other for all your travel for the year—you can’t choose actual expenses for some trips and per diem rates for others.
  • Even when your employer reimburses you, it’s worth exploring the per diem tables. Sometimes, they are higher than the rates you actually paid. One client’s travels generated over $18,000 using the per diem rates, instead of the $8,000 or so he actually spent. After deducting the reimbursements, you might even have a substantial employee business expense deduction.

What deductions can’t you claim?

Although you probably need an especially good wardrobe for temp work, you don’t get to take deductions for your wardrobe costs. Your meals are not deductible, either. However, if you are taking out key personnel at various businesses to pump them for information about how to get hired permanently, you might get away with those meal expenses. Be sure to keep notes on the business purpose of the meal.

As a full-time temp, your mileage and travel won’t be deductible. When voluntarily temping for a year or more as a career choice, the temporary work is your main job. When temping for more than a year while still seeking full-time work, document your efforts to find a permanent job.

As for you RV-ers working your way around the country with no permanent home—without a home, there’s nowhere to travel from, so none of your mileage or travel expenses are deductible. However, if you are traveling and writing—and getting paid to write—you just might be able to pick up your costs as business expenses. Do some proper planning, and you can write off your life!


Medical Tax Deductions Are Worth More Than You Think
5 Tax Lessons Learned from Filing Your 2010 Tax Return
Last-Minute Tax-Filing Tips: 6 Mistakes Every Tax Filer Should Avoid
Strategies to Ensure You Get Credit for Your Charitable Deductions
Do I Get a Deduction for My Gifts? Or Do I Get Punished for Being Generous?

Eva Rosenberg, EA is the publisher of TaxMama.com, where your tax questions are answered. Eva is the author of several books and ebooks, including Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Eva teaches a tax pro course at IRSExams.com.

No comments yet

Leave a Comment

Name :

Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Tax Archive

Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter