If you do volunteer work for a charity and incur out-of-pocket expenses, please don’t forget to let your tax preparer know at tax time! The IRS has some tips to make sure you don’t let those deductions slip away:
1. You must volunteer to work for a qualified organization. Ask the charity about its tax-exempt status. You can also visit IRS.gov and use the Select Check tool to see if the group is qualified.
2. You may be able to deduct unreimbursed travel expenses you pay while serving as a volunteer. You can’t deduct the value of your time or services.
3. The deduction qualifies only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation or vacation in the travel. However, the deduction will qualify even if you enjoy the trip.
4. You can deduct your travel expenses if your work is real and substantial throughout the trip. You can’t deduct expenses if you only have nominal duties or do not have any duties for significant parts of the trip.
5. Deductible travel expenses may include:
•Air, rail and bus transportation
•The cost of meals
•Taxi fares or other transportation costs between the airport or station and your hotel