News You Can Use For March 2006
A number of tax benefits are available to volunteers. Donors and volunteers can deduct out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the services given to a charitable organization if they itemize deductions on their tax returns.
Contributions must be made to a qualified organization: one that is operated for charitable, religious, educational, scientific or literary purposes. Accurate records, including receipts, canceled checks and other proof of expenses and charitable gifts are absolutely essential to support your deductions.
LSU AgCenter 4-H youth volunteer expert Dr. Janet Fox says several expenses are deductible. They include: bus and cab transportation expenses; parking costs and toll fees; cost and expense of upkeep of special uniforms; telephone bills; supplies purchased to perform volunteer duties; car mileage and expenses for gas and oil (see tax forms for allowance per mile); dues, fees or assessments made to a qualified organization; and non-cash contributions of property, such as clothing, books, household items and equipment at fair market value.
Fox also points out that some expenses are not deductible. They include: the value of volunteer time or service; child-care expenses; money spent on raffles or bingo, even when part of the proceeds go to charity; tickets to a charity event (sponsor must state any portion of fee that is a deductible charitable donation); gifts or money to specific individuals (this typically includes livestock and similar sales, where proceeds eventually go to a specific 4-H'er); automobile repair and maintenance expenses; and money pledged (only dollars actually paid on a pledge during the taxable year are deductible).
For related information on youth and family topics, click on the 4-H clover at the AgCenter Web site: www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.