9 Tax Rewards for Charitable Volunteers


You may put your blood, sweat and tears into supporting your favorite charity, but you can’t take any deduction for the value of your services.

Keep track of out-of-pocket expenditures.  When tax return time rolls around, you can generally deduct those costs that benefit the charity and don’t benefit you.  Of course, these write-offs are available only if you itemize. Here are nine common examples.

1. Personal vehicles:

If you use your own vehicle for charitable driving, you may deduct costs such as gas, oil and repairs that are attributable to those trips. In lieu of keeping track of all of your actual expenses, you might choose to use a flat rate of 14 cents per mile, plus any charity related parking fees and tolls.

2. Travel expenses:

Air, rail, bus or taxicab fare incurred on behalf of charity is deductible. You can deduct the cost of meals and lodging on a charitable trip. The usual 50% deduction limit on meals doesn’t apply. There can’t be any significant element of personal pleasure, recreation or vacation in the travel.

3. Telephone expenses:

Although you can’t deduct your basic telephone or cellphone expenses, you may deduct the cost of long distance calls made for a charity or a second landline or fax installed in your home solely for charitable purposes.

4. Special clothing:

If you’re required to wear special clothing while performing charitable dutie you can deduct the cost of the clothing.

5. Entertainment expenses:

If you throw a party or dinner for fundraising purposes, all of your expenses are deductible. As with charitable travel, there’s no 50% limit on entertainment and meal expenses for write-offs for charitable functions.

6. Charitable events:

When you attend events sponsored by a charity, your deduction is limited to the difference between the cost and the fair market value of the benefit received.

7. Charitable conventions:

You may deduct the costs associated with attending a convention on behalf of a charitable organization only if you’re an official delegate.  This includes meals and lodging at the convention site. Any other personal expenses incurred while you’re away are nondeductible.

8. Exchange students:

If you host a foreign exchange student this year, you can deduct up to $50 per month of your expenses for each month the child attends school. The student must be living in your home under a written agreement with a qualified charity.

9. Underprivileged youth:

When you work with a charity aiming to reduce juvenile delinquency, you can deduct amounts paid to enable underprivileged youths to attend sports events, concerts, movies or dinners. The youths must be selected by the charity—not you.[/vc_column_text][us_image image=”3815″][/vc_column][/vc_row]