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Author: Crosenfield Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 121219  
Subject: Re: "Per diem" contract offer Date: 7/26/1999 2:58 PM
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I did a contract job for 1 1/2 years and there weren't any challenges, though I was ready.
Presumably the person contracting you will provide housing for you--this isn't taxable to you, even if it comes with all furniture, linens, pots and pans, cleaning service, cable TV, etc. You can deduct a fixed daily amount in the catalog--the CONUS number, I think--without showing any receipts. If you go to good restaurants, it gets hairier and a 50% may apply. Something around $30 a day for food you can deduct, which differs according to the city.
My job was originally for a month. After a week or so they said, "We don't yet have a permanent person. Would you stay 3 more months?" This continued for 18 months. If at some point the job becomes "permanent", you can't continue the arrangement. If after several months the group contracting your services looks like they are hiring someone "permanent" or you have finished the job and are no longer needed, the presumption is that you either return to AZ or go somewhere else.
If there are questions, having an AZ license plate on your car and AZ voter registration in your wallet would be helpful. You could put your furniture in the house your folks are living in and have that address for voter registration; you should not appear to have "moved" to the temporary job. It would also be well to vote as an absentee voter in AZ.
If the contractor designates the CONUS number as "per diem", that is fine--then you will not pay income tax or social security on that sum, though you could not deduct a further amount on your own taxes.
These temporary jobs can be very rewarding and give you a whole new outlook on life. Enjoy!
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