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Tips on Travel While Giving Your Services to Charity



Do you plan to donate 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. Here are several tax tips that you should know if you travel while giving your services to charity.

• Qualified Charities.  In order to deduct your costs, your volunteer work must be for a qualified charity. Most groups must apply to the IRS to become qualified. Churches and governments are qualified, and do not need to apply to the IRS. Ask the group about its IRS status before you donate. You can also use the Select Check tool on IRS.gov to check the group’s status.

• Out-of-Pocket Expenses. You may be able to deduct some costs you pay to give your services. This can include the cost of travel. The costs must be necessary while you are away from home giving your services for a qualified charity. All costs must be:

o Unreimbursed,

o Directly connected with the services,

o Expenses you had only because of the services you gave, and

o Not personal, living or family expenses.

• Genuine and Substantial Duty.  Your charity work has to be real and substantial throughout the trip. You can’t deduct expenses if you only have nominal duties or do not have any duties for significant parts of the trip.

• Value of Time or Service.  You can’t deduct the value of your services that you give to charity. This includes income lost while you work as an unpaid volunteer for a qualified charity.

• Deductible travel. The types of expenses that you may be able to deduct include:

o Air, rail and bus transportation,

o Car expenses,

o Lodging costs,

o The cost of meals, and

o Taxi or other transportation costs between the airport or station and your hotel.

• Nondeductible Travel. Some types of travel do not qualify for a tax deduction. For example, you can’t deduct your costs if a significant part of the trip involves recreation or a vacation.

For more on these rules, see Publication 526, Charitable Contributions. You can get it on IRS.gov/forms at any time.

(Re-Post from IRS Tax Tips.)

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Dan has been preparing tax return for US Taxpayers and Expatriates since 1998 beginning with US military and Embassy mission personnel in Bangkok, Thailand. He has always loved math and took business accounting at City U. in Seattle Washington. Dan worked at Clint Gordon & Associates (Accredited Tax Consultant) were he gained his foundational knowledge of the US taxing system.

Dan has been studying tax preparation and tax law ever since increasing his skill and knowledge of the tax preparation business accordingly, Dan is known in many circles around the globe as an Expatriate Tax Expert. His book entitled “The Complete US Expat Tax Book” has recently been published and is available on Kindle, Amazon and booksellers around the world.

Thru the years, Dan has fought many battles with the Internal Revenue Service as well as various state taxing departments with great success in helping lower and or eliminate his clients tax debts.

Dan Gordon and his staff enjoy the work they do from the simplest 1040EZ to the most complex corporations, with the goal that no client should pay more tax than legally required.

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