Did you know that it pays to volunteer? Not only are you pitching in and supporting a good cause but there are all kinds of deductions that you could be eligible for come tax time. Here are some very useful tax deductions for volunteering.
Volunteers may deduct transportation expenses. They must be incurred getting to and from a volunteer assignment or during the volunteer work, say food delivery to an ailing patient. You can keep track of actual driving expenses like gas and oil changes, or simply take a mileage deduction at the rate of 14 cents per mile. General car maintenance or insurance may not be deducted but parking fees and tolls are allowable expenses. Public transportation expenses like subway, bus or taxi fees may also be deducted.
Travel expenses may be deducted. Airfare, accommodation and meals are allowable expenses when performing volunteer services away from home. This may happen when attending a convention, a training or during a community service trip. Expenses must be directly related to volunteer work. Leisure activities and personal vacation days are not allowable expenses.
Other out-of-pocket expenses may be covered. If you take a potential donor out to lunch, that may be deducted. Board members may deduct phone charges, postage and copying fees that would be associated with preparing for meetings. If you are required to wear a specific uniform while volunteering or perhaps an apron, the cost of the uniform may be deducted as well as upkeep and maintenance.
Check out this list from the IRS on all items that are tax deductions for volunteers.
Your time volunteering may not be deducted. This includes professional time spent on sharing legal advice or helping write a newsletter.
It’s a good idea to keep careful track of volunteer expenses throughout the year. Leave a notebook in your car or purse to track mileage and other transportation-related expenses. Keep all receipts of things that you may want to deduct and make careful notes about each item such as when and why it was purchased.
First and foremost, we are not tax experts so please check with a tax professional. On the other hand, if you are a tax savvy volunteer it might be worth spreading the word to other volunteers in your nonprofit organization.
Tax deductions for volunteering might not add up to a huge amount of money, but it is a nice incentive to keep up with the volunteer work.