Tax breaks for volunteers

Local News

CPA Ken Hall discussed some of the tax breaks available for those who volunteer their time Monday during News 8 at Sunrise.

Hall, the President of the Rochester Chapter of the New York State Society of CPAs, said the main deductions to focus on center around your transportation, your meals, your lodging and in some cases uniforms. “Airplanes, taxis, subways – keep the receipts,” said Hall. “Those are a good way to prove you have a deduction. Plus, the nature of the travel. You have to be going from your home to your place of volunteering.”

Hall noted currently the IRS allows you to deduct the miles you drive at 14 cents a mile. “But you have to keep a log and they call it a contemporaneous log, which means you do it at the time you do your trip, not April 13.”

He added, if you’re out of town expenses associated with hotels and meals will qualify, again if those expenses are directly connected with your volunteering.

You want to make sure the organization who you’re volunteering for is a valid charity. “Oftentimes on their website they’ll publicize they’re a 501(c)(3),” Hall said. “That’s accountant talk for a valid charity. The IRS also maintains a list of valid charities, so if you’re not sure, make sure.”

Any babysitting expense you incur which enables you to volunteer cannot be deducted.

“Currently you have to itemize your deductions,” said Hall regarding claiming your deductions. “So, there’s two paths you can take. You can itemize where you come up with a certain threshold or, if you don’t have enough, you do the standard deduction. If you’re claiming the standard, these really don’t enter into the savings on your taxes.”

Hall said when it comes to volunteering, keep good records and let a trusted CPA help you maximize any potential deductions. For more information, click here.
 

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