Summer is undoubtedly a great time for leisure travel, but it’s also a great time to travel for charity work. If you plan to use some of your summer vacation traveling to do charity work there are five tax tips to keep in mind.
1. You must volunteer to work for a qualified organization. If you are unsure of the organizations tax-exempt status it is best to ask for more information. You may also use the IRS Select Check Tool to see if the organization is an exempt entity.
2. Although you cannot deduct the value of your time or services, it is possible for you to deduct any unreimbursed travel expenses you pay while volunteering.
3. The deduction is only valid if there is no significant personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel. Of course you may enjoy the work you’re doing to help others, but just remember the trip has to be much more volunteering oriented than leisurely oriented.
4. You can deduct your travel expenses if you work was substantial throughout the trip. For example, you may not take a deduction for a 3-day trip in which you volunteered for an hour.
5. Deductible travel expenses may include:
· Air, train, and bus transportation
· Car expenses (rental, gas)
· Lodging costs
· Food expenses
· Taxi fares or other transportation costs between the airport, train station, and your hotel