Unreimbursed Expenses of Volunteer Workers

If you spend all of your free time and money volunteering in your community, you might be relieved to know that your unreimbursed expenses are potentially tax deductible. Before claiming the deductions on your tax forms, you must verify that your expense types and amounts meet the requirements of the IRS. Once you confirm your purchases qualify as deductions, you may feel more comfortable diverting your extra funds toward charitable causes throughout the year. At the end of the year, your deductions may offset your taxable income in a positive way to net you a higher refund. Here are four expenses that are commonly tax deductible for volunteer workers.

Transportation

The majority of your travel costs are deductible, though there are some restrictions. In general, you cannot deduct the cost of repairs or vehicle depreciation after using your personal car for your charity work. Whenever you travel by bus, train or plane to complete volunteer activities, you must save your tickets and receipts to claim these expenses on your taxes.

Lodging

If you are required to travel far from home to participate in the planned volunteer tasks, you are likely able to write off the full cost of the lodging you secure for the night. You must confirm that you only went on the trip to complete the assigned tasks for your selected charity organization. If the IRS feels that you took a pleasurable vacation, rather than a business trip, you will not be able to claim your expenses as a deduction.

Meals

You may deduct the full cost of your meals while traveling overnight for your charity work. You can only deduct your own meals, not ones purchased for your spouse, children or other travel companions. You cannot claim a deduction for meals purchased while on day trips, even if you end up napping for several hours in your car. You must secure lodging to prove your overnight stay for trips where meals are claimed.

Entertainment

If you are volunteering as a support person or mentor for individuals in need, you may be able to deduct a portion of your entertainment expenses. To qualify for this deduction, you must work directly with a charity that selects the individuals requiring your support. Although you will accompany these assigned individuals to sports games, theater showings and other fun events, you can only deduct their ticket prices and other expense, not your own.

Claiming Unreimbursed Expenses On Your Taxes

When you are ready to start adding up the unreimbursed expenses from your charity work, you may seek assistance with the calculations from your tax expert at The Income Tax Center in St. Louis, Missouri. You can work closely with your MO tax expert to make sure all of the funds you spent on bettering your community are included in your long list of deductions. Your tax professional will also make sure that your deductions abide by all of the IRS regulations to prevent your return from triggering an audit.

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