If you’re a seasonal snowbird or full-time RVer and work from your rig, you’ve probably heard that you can enjoy a nice tax break by writing off your rig as a second home and business expense.
I’ve heard the same thing and always wondered what full-timing expenses were justifiable write-offs in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service. Thankfully there’s a new book that clears up this confusion, called Can I Write Off My RV?: What Every RVer Should Know About Taxes.
Learning about income taxes isn’t as boring as you might think. Written by former full-timer and income tax expert George Montgomery, “Can I Write Off My RV?” does an excellent job clearly answering all of the tax questions that arise when you begin to live and work on the road.
Because Montgomery was a working-age full-timer for 16 years, he has a comprehensive understanding of the nature of working while living this vagabondish lifestyle. As a certified Enrolled Agent for the IRS, he possesses a wealth of knowledge about both sides of the coin, which makes him a rarity among highly-skilled tax experts. This also explains why he’s earned the title of “RV Tax Master” for Workamper University.
With these qualifications, you know the advice in this book is solid. In addition to basic information about choosing a domicile, you’ll also learn about topics like:
- Tax implications for seasonal RVers with a sticks and bricks home versus full-timers who don’t have one
- The ins and outs of filing multi-state tax returns
- If and how volunteering can offset your tax liabilities
- Which records to keep and for how long
- And of course, how to know if your RV is a tax deduction
Includes Helpful Workamper Information
The book is written in easily understood language that demystifies all of the intricacies about claiming tax deductions while full-timing.
A helpful section covers a common scenario that many workampers wonder about, which is the tax liability of their campsite while workamping. He writes:
Deductability of An RV Site
If you are paid in full for all of the hours that you work and then have to pay for your campsite, the cost of the campsite may be deducted if it is a job requirement that you stay at the campground.
Some RVers, such as those defined as itinerant workers, are not always eligible to deduct these items. Because of this, the IRS prompts employers to issue a W-2 or 1099 for this benefit. I feel this is done to encourage uninformed employers to report this as income even though it is a non-taxable benefit if it is for the convenience of the employer . . .
When you are interviewing for a job, ask if you are required to live onsite and make sure the value of that site will not be included on your W-2 or 1099 since it is a job requirement for the benefit of the employer . . . If the value of the campsite is included in your income . . . . then you may deduct the items on your Schedule A (if on a W-2), or on a Schedule C (if on a 1099) as a requirement of the job whether you are away-from-home or an itinerant worker.”
Montgomery emphasizes the importance of keeping accurate records in the event that you have to prove the value of the campsite to the IRS, so that you may deduct that segment of workamping income that was added into your W-2 or 1099.
Don’t Leave Home Without It
Reading this book also provides an understanding of how oftentimes the IRS considers the viability of deductions on a case-by-case basis, so Montgomery includes several different scenarios that clearly illustrate how tax laws can be applied in different ways depending on the unique living and working situation of the taxpayer.
If you’re about to hit the road and see some type of work or volunteering in your future, this book is indispensable for your full-timer education and will provide you with the information you need to discuss your specific tax situation with your own tax preparer.
Disclaimer: George Montgomery has been our own tax preparer since 2010 and we can’t say enough great things about him!