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Tax Tip Tuesday: Traveling for Charity

Volunteering for a charity, and traveling to do that volunteer work, can have a lot of positive benefits. Here’s what the IRS wants you to know if you choose to travel to volunteer.

  • Qualified Charities: For a taxpayer to deduct costs, they must volunteer with a qualified charity.

  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses: A taxpayer may be able to deduct some of their costs including travel. These out-of-pocket expenses must be necessary while the taxpayer is away from home. All costs must be:

  • Unreimbursed

  • Directly connected with the services

  • Expenses the taxpayer had only because of the services the taxpayer gave

  • Not personal, living or family expenses

  • Genuine and Substantial Duty: The charity work the taxpayer is involved with has to be real and substantial throughout the trip. The taxpayer can’t deduct expenses if they only have nominal duties or do not have any duties for significant parts of the trip.

  • Value of Time or Service: A taxpayer can’t deduct the value of their time or services that they give to charity. This includes income lost while the taxpayer serves as an unpaid volunteer for a qualified charity.

  • Travel Expenses a Taxpayer Can Deduct: The types of expenses a taxpayer may be able to deduct include:

  • Air, rail and bus transportation

  • Car expenses

  • Lodging costs

  • Cost of meals

  • Taxi or other transportation costs between the airport or station and their hotel

  • Travel Expenses a Taxpayer Can’t Deduct: Some types of travel do not qualify for a tax deduction. For example, a taxpayer can’t deduct their costs if a significant part of the trip involves recreation or vacation.

Have fun helping others and get a tax benefit also!

Disclaimer: The items included in the Tax Tip Tuesday Video Blog are informational only and are not meant as tax advice. Consult with your tax advisor to determine how any item applies to your situation. IRS Circular 230 disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advise contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein

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