Thursday, December 21, 2017
I teach and live in Florida but spent last year as a visiting professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs (which, by the way, was a phenomenal experience in no small part due to the outstanding cadets of USAFA). One of the reasons I, and others, are able to pursue such opportunities from a purely financial standpoint is because the tax code grants some pretty favorable deductions for the costs associated with a temporary job away from home that lasts less than 12 months. Under the present tax code, a visiting prof can deduct some of the costs associated with maintaining a second home (like rent) during the visitorship (as long as the vistorship is a qualifying distance from the professor's primary home per the tax code), a per diem meal expense, daily travel expenses between your temporary home and the new job, moving expenses to and back, etc. Speaking for myself, I likely would not have been able to pursue such an opportunity without these deductions given the cost of maintaining my primary home in Florida while I was away.
I confess I'm not knowledgeable about the tax code but from what I've read it looks like most of the deductions that affect visiting professorships will be eliminated when you file your 2018 tax return (in 2019). For instance, you'll no longer be able to deduct moving expenses. A news bulletin I received from an accounting firm that summarizes the changes under the new tax code states that the meal per diem as well as all out of pocket, unreimbursed employment expenses associated with those who travel for work like pilots, flight attendants, etc. are essentially being eliminated. To wit, the new tax bill repeals all miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% of adjusted gross income, including the write-off for tax preparation fees and unreimbursed employee business expenses.
Perhaps someone more knowledgeable about the new tax bill can chime in and confirm whether visiting profs will be able to deduct the costs associated with their visitorships going forward. If those deductions are indeed being eliminated, it will no doubt affect one's ability to pursue these kinds of opportunities which, to be blunt, sucks.