What Volunteers Can Deduct at Tax Time

You Can't Deduct

  • The cost of time for your services
  • The value of any compensation or gifts you receive from the nonprofit you are volunteering for must be subtracted off of any deductions you take.

What Deductions can you take?

  • If the supplies that you use to perform a function of the ABBA are not reimbursed the cost of those supplies may be deductible.
  • Transportation to or from an event is deductible. Qualifying expenses include gasoline for your car and fares for taxis or public transportation. If you drive your own vehicle to transport players or equipment, you can use a special IRS mileage rate to calculate charitable contribution deductions involving use of your car. This special rate is currently 14 cents per mile.
  • The costs for traveling, rooms, and meals while serving as a delegate for a nonprofit organization can be deducted.
  • Umpires and field officials traveling to the World Series can deduct the cost of airfare and rooms minus the cost of reimbursement.
  • Other expenses that may be deducted are the cost of uniforms and training equipment.

Keeping Records

  • When making a donation of money, it's a good rule of thumb to pay by check, rather than cash, and make sure that the check is payable directly to the charity--not the person collecting the money or a company of another name. Also be sure to get a receipt for your donation and keep it with your cancelled check.
  • If you take a deduction for out-of-pocket expenses you incurred incident to your performance of services for a charity, it is important to have receipts to document expenses. It is also a good idea to get a written acknowledgement from the charity for the services you provide.
  • If you use the IRS Mileage Rate for your deduction of transportation keep detailed records of your Mileage for each trip.
  • If you give more than $250 – either in cash, property, or expenses you had to pay in order to volunteer, you must obtain a written acknowledgement or receipt describing what you gave from the charity itself. If you received goods or services in exchange for a contribution of $250 or more, the acknowledgement should describe them and estimate their value (unless they would be considered insubstantial). You will need to subtract their estimated value from the amount you claim as a deduction. You should not attach the acknowledgment to your income tax return, but must keep it in your personal records in case you are asked to substantiate your contribution later. There are additional rules regarding gifts of non-cash items worth more than $500. Please consult an accountant or the IRS for more details.

The above info was gathered from Traderstatus.com for the 2005 tax year. To be eligible to deduct volunteer expenses you have to itemize your deductions. Please consult an accountant or the Internal Revenue Service for more information.