Home Uncategorized Tax Deductions for Your Charitable Contributions and Volunteer Work

Tax Deductions for Your Charitable Contributions and Volunteer Work

written by Barry and Joyce Vissell August 15, 2023

This applies to any of the items above, from simple mileage to hosting an entire fundraising event. If your charity work requires that you wear a uniform, the costs of purchasing and maintaining your uniforms are tax deductible. This rule applies to actual uniforms, not to business attire that you must wear instead of your usual sweatshirt and jeans. The volunteer can deduct travel expenses relevant to volunteering in service of your nonprofit away from home, such as airfare and other transport, accommodations, and meals.

If you itemize your tax deductions, you might be eligible for some valuable deductions. Any expenses deducted must directly relate to the charity where you volunteer, and you can’t have been reimbursed for them. Lastly, you will need to be taking the itemized deductions and not the standard deduction.

  1. It’s also a good idea for organizations to explain their reimbursement policy to volunteers, both verbally and in writing.
  2. This may happen when attending a convention, a training or during a community service trip.
  3. Additionally, if the organization requires a special outfit or uniform, and it has no general utility, it’s possible to deduct this as well.
  4. Whichever method is used, volunteers can deduct parking fees and tolls.

If you donate $250 or more, you must obtain a written acknowledgement from the charity. The acknowledgment must state the amount of your donation and whether or not you received goods or services in exchange for the donation. Like any deduction, you will need to be able to substantiate your volunteer expense deductions. For example, if you voluntarily fixed up an elderly neighbor’s house one weekend, it wouldn’t be deductible because it wasn’t done through a qualified charitable organization. One way to know if a charity is exempt is to ask the organization for a copy of the IRS letter showing their tax status. Another is to do a search using the Exempt Organizations Database on the IRS website.

Buying or cleaning clothing the volunteer wears during the service, which may also be used when the person isn’t volunteering, is not eligible as an out of pocket expense. But if an organization requires volunteers to wear or buy a uniform with its name, logo or special colors –something that couldn’t be worn every day. Or if the clothing has some special design or materials that make it usable only for the job at hand, buying and cleaning those could be a deductible out-of-pocket expense.

Don’t miss out on deductions you can take for volunteer work.

You may donate almost any type of property, whether used or new (although certain types of property must be in good condition, so you can skip the running shoes with holes in the soles). Property contributions run the gamut from used clothing and cars to investment securities, real estate, artwork, and other collectibles. To find out tax-exempt status of a charity,  you can use IRS Exempt Organization Select Check. Joanne Fritz is an expert on nonprofit organizations and philanthropy. Aging well starts with eating right, staying active, and thinking positive. Learn how to take good care of your body and your mind with timely tips from our Thrive at Home Specialists.


Don’t worry about knowing what acts of kindness are tax deductible. TurboTax will ask you simple questions and give you the tax deductions you are eligible for based on your answers. If you ask volunteers to purchase a uniform—for example, an apron identifying them as a hospital helper—they can deduct both the purchase price and any upkeep costs. However, the uniform must not be suitable for everyday use (providing a T-shirt with a logo or asking your theatre ushers to always wear black won’t be enough). Also, your organization must require the volunteers to wear the uniforms while performing services.

Those volunteers taking public transportation can deduct subway, bus, or taxi fare. It’s true that the deductions available to volunteers might not add up to big dollars, since there’s no deduction for the actual hours they put in. Even highly skilled volunteers, such as https://turbo-tax.org/ graphic designers or lawyers, can’t deduct the value of their time. So go ahead, pick up the phone and tell your local charity you’d like to volunteer. You’ll get the satisfaction of making a difference, make lots of new friends, and may even garner a tax deduction.

You can get a $300 charitable deduction, even if you don’t itemize. The IRS expanded tax credits as an incentive by the government to encourage Americans to lend a hand to those in need during the pandemic. Any charitable deduction of $250 or more needs to have official documentation from the charity you are giving goods or services to. You also can deduct the cost of meals needed while volunteering at the full cost (100 percent).

(This rule applies to volunteers for organizations such as yours that are exempt from tax under the tax code or for a governmental entity, as defined in the regulations). Often, organizations ask volunteers to provide their own supplies and materials to carry out the work. In other cases, volunteers will need to provide their own safety gear or a special uniform. All these types of expenses are deductible if you are paying for them out of your pocket and not getting reimbursed. In order to enjoy these tax deductions and savings, you’ll need to volunteer for an IRS qualified charity.

If you use your car as part of your volunteer work you may be eligible for a tax deduction. According to IRS.gov, the standard rate is 14 cents per mile when driven in service of a charitable organization. An alternative to this would be to deduct the actual cost of unreimbursed gas, but not maintenance. If you use your car as part of your volunteer work, you may be eligible for a tax deduction. According to IRS.gov, the standard rate is 14 cents per mile when driven in service of a charitable organization in 2022. An alternative to this would be to deduct the actual cost of unreimbursed gas but not the maintenance of your car.

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For instance, if you pay a friend’s airfare so they can do missionary work overseas, you’re not allowed to deduct it on your tax return. The IRS has long taken the position that the accountable plan rules apply equally to volunteers if the employer has the right to direct and control how the volunteers perform their services. In other words, individuals providing services without pay under the employer’s direction and control are treated as employees under the accountable plan rules.

What Volunteering Expenses Can You Deduct?

You may deduct the full cost of long distance telephone calls cellphone charges made on behalf of a charity. For example, you may have to submit additional forms to volunteer expenses tax deduction the IRS or have the property appraised to determine its value. You can find more information in IRS Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property.

To qualify for this tax deduction, the expenses you are planning to deduct must directly relate to the charity where you volunteer. Additionally, you must not have been reimbursed for those volunteering expenses. In order to claim a tax deduction for charity work, the organization must have a tax-exempt status like Agingnext. Although most public charities, churches and nonprofits are qualified with the IRS, many are not—so double-check a group’s tax status. Moreover, the trip must have been mostly for business, not pleasure, or it won’t be deductible at all.

While your volunteering may not rack up this much expenses, you may still be entitled to some tax deductions. If you are generous enough to host a fundraiser, you can deduct your unreimbursed expenses for putting on the event. If you are at the market buying alcohol in bulk, put all event-specific items on a separate receipt. Like any tax deduction, you will need to be able to substantiate your volunteer expenses. Think who, what, where, when, and why when it comes to expenses tied to volunteering.

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