Doing Volunteer Work this Summer? Deduct these Service Expenses

While others may be relaxing and taking it easy this Summer, you see it as an opportunity to get extra work done. And if that work includes volunteering at a nonprofit organization, you can deduct your time and money spent on volunteer work. Here are a few guidelines about tax deductions you can claim with volunteering this season.
Qualifying Organizations
To qualify for any of the available deductions, the nonprofit you’re donating time to must have official recognition as a 501(c)(3) organization by the IRS. If you can deduct cash contributions from the charity or nonprofit, then that’s a clear sign of an eligible organization. The IRS website also has an exempt organization tool, which you can search and confirm an organization’s exemption status.

Travel Expenses

A trip deduction can include any necessary airfare or mileage to reach your volunteering site. With driving, you can claim on average 14 cents per mile – check with a local tax professional to be sure. You can also deduct any costs towards meals and housing during your trip.

If your charitable work has you hopping on a plane somewhere, you could probably deduct the cost of the entire journey; however, there are some regulations. For instance, your volunteer work must be the primary reason for the flight – you can’t expect a full claim by flying to Miami or New York for a week just to volunteer an hour or so at a local shelter or soup kitchen.

Value of Time
Keep in mind that there is no way for you to deduct an hourly rate of the time you spent volunteering. Let’s say you volunteer to clean the operating base or office of a nonprofit. You can’t attempt to claim the standard rates you would have charged as a service; however, costs for cleaning supplies and utilities would be eligible deductions.

The key here is the restriction on your tax claims to actual expenses while volunteering. Another example would be if you made a significant purchase for the organization – like a printer – or if you paid out-of-pocket for printing services.

You should also note that claims have to be itemized to receive any charitable deductions. We recommend using a local CPA or tax preparation software program to assist with itemizing your tax deductions – you can find even more resources on the IRS website.

Don’t rush or stress yourself with volunteering expenses during the next tax season – e-file IRS Form 4868 with and receive six months of extra filing time to get all your tax claims in order. You can also download our FREE Express 4868 App for iOS and Android devices, and quickly e-file a personal tax extension wherever you are.

For any questions or assistance with the e-filing process, give our live, US-based customer support a call at (803) 514-5155. We are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, and we offer 24/7 online support with [email protected].

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