Take advantage of tax breaks for volunteer work

Take advantage of tax breaks for volunteer work

In addition to intangible benefits, charitable giving offers breaks that can help reduce the amount you owe on your federal income tax return. Along with your monetary donations, you may be able to deduct other expenses incurred in support of your favorite charity, such as vet bills for your local humane society, or lumber and nails for a charity that provides or improves housing.

As an illustration, in one tax court case, deductions were allowed for mileage at the prescribed IRS rate, as well as air fare, lodging, and meals during trips to benefit a charity, even though the charity did not initiate, control, supervise, or assist with the trips. Actions taken by the charity helped the court reach the favorable ruling. For example, the charity was qualified under IRS rules, and provided letters of commendation serving as introductions to other charitable groups. After the trip, the charity publicized the efforts to related charities.

Charitable deductions may also be available if you're a board member of a charity, or simply significantly involved with the charity. In another decision, the tax court noted "control" by the charity is only one of the factors considered when determining allowable deductions, meaning you don't necessarily have to be controlled or directed by a charity to claim a deduction. However, in this situation, you will have to maintain a strong affiliation with the charity, and you must be accountable to the charity.

One more tip: To get the most benefit from your charitable activities, remember that recordkeeping requirements apply to all charitable deductions, and noncash contributions greater than $250 must be acknowledged by the charity.

If you assist a charity or charities, contact us for more details about how you can claim deductions for your contributions.


Burzenski and Company, P.C.