Tips on Travel while giving to Charity

Do you plan to don9327358970_9df06d0eba_mate your services to charity this summer?  Will you travel as part of the service?  If so, some travel expenses may help lower your taxes when you file your tax return next year.  Following are four tax tips you should know if you travel while giving your services to charity.

  1. You cannot deduct the value of the services you give to charity, but you may be able to deduct some out-of-pocket costs that you pay to give your services, and can include the cost of travel.  All out-of-pocket costs must be:
    • unreimbursed,
    • directly connected with the services,
    • expenses you incurred only because of the services you gave, and
    • not personal, living or family expenses.
  2. Your volunteer work must be for a qualified charity.  Most groups other than churches and governments must apply to the IRS to become qualified.  Ask the group about its IRS status before you donate.
  3. Some types of travel do not qualify for a tax deduction.  For example, you cannot deduct your costs if a significant part of the trip involves recreation or a vacation.  You can deduct your travel expenses if your work is real and substantial throughout the trip.  You cannot deduct expenses if you only have nominal duties or do not have any duties for significant parts of the trip.
  4. Deductible travel expenses may include:
    • air, rail and bus transportation,
    • car expenses,
    • lodging costs,
    • the cost of meals, and
    • taxi or other transportation costs between the airport or station and your hotel.

For more on these rules see see    Publication 526, Charitable Contributions