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Brad, Retired IRS Agent
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 177
Experience:  Retired; 32 years service and expertise in Individual, Partnership, Trust, Corporate Tax Law;Mensa
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how do I write off volunteer work

Customer Question

I volunteered probably 600 hours of my time at a local middle school last yr. Can my volunteer time be used as a tax write off?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Brad replied 9 years ago.

Good Day,Customer

Unfortunately not, but there are many expenses connected with volunteering that are itemized deductions and I have tried to be all-inclusive of those expenses below:

Volunteering is not considered a donation of goods, so it cannot be deducted from your taxes. Travel expenses are generally deductible, both to and from the volunteer location. The full cost of flights or bus or train rides can be taken off your taxes and if you drove to your destination and kept track of the mileage, you can give yourself 14 cents a mile in deductions. Related parking fees and tolls are deductible as well

Personal expenses for volunteer work are generally not deductible. You cannot claim the money used to buy meals or purchase non-essential items on your taxes. Volunteers may deduct the cost of phone calls, postage stamps, stationery, computer paper, and other out-of-pocket costs incurred with their volunteer work. The cost of your time, no matter how valuable it may be, is not deductible.

The issue is addressed in Reg 1.170A-13(f)(10):

""All contributions over $250 must be substantiated by written acknowledgement from the donee organization The requirement applies to unreimbursed expenses incurred on behalf of the charitable organization The charitable can supply an acknowledgement of the services performed and that no benefit was received in return for the services other than intangible benefits. The acknowledgement by the taxpayer must be received no later than the earlier of the date the return is filed or the due date of the return (including extensions).""

Please contact me for any further questions!