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Charity Write-Offs

What can you write off if volunteer your time with one of your favorite charities? What tax benefit, if any, may be available to you for that effort?

Although no tax deduction is allowed for the value of services that you perform for a charitable organization (sorry), some deductions are permitted for out-of-pocket cost you incur while performing the services*. Away from home travel expenses, while performing services for a charity aren’t deductible, however, if there is a significant element of personal pleasure associated with the travel. If your services for a charity involve lobbying activities, no deduction is permitted.

If you use your car while performing services for a charitable organization, you may deduct your actual unreimbursed expenses directly attributable to the services, such as gas and oil costs. Alternatively, you may deduct a flat 14 cents per mile for the charitable use of your car. In either event, you may also deduct parking fees and tolls.

You will want to keep track of your expenses, the services that you were performing and when you performed them, and the organization for which you performed the services. You should retain receipts, canceled checks and other reliable written records relating to the services and expenses.

I would be happy to assist you with any other questions you may have about deductions related to your charitable contributions.

*subject to the deduction limit that generally applies to charitable contributions

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