On Monday, July 23rd, the team from Linkenheimer, along with significant others met up after work at the Redwood Empire Food Bank to lend a helping hand. Summer months are always tough for REFB in terms of finding volunteers, so we were excited to be able to participate and assist a great local non-profit that has been serving Sonoma County for over a decade, providing meals to elderly, children and those in need. Over the course of our two hours there, we formed an assembly line to put together over 300 boxes of food for the elderly in our community, weighing in at over 7,000lb of food staples and drinks. Local charities like these are what makes Sonoma County such a great place to live and do business in and we are proud to support them.
Because donations to charity of cash or property generally are tax deductible (if you itemize), it only seems logical that the donation of something even more valuable to you — your time — would also be deductible. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Donations of time or services aren’t deductible. It doesn’t matter if it’s simple administrative work, such as checking in attendees at a fundraising event, or if it’s work requiring significant experience and expertise that would be much more costly to the charity if it had to pay for it, such as skilled carpentry or legal counsel.
However, you potentially can deduct out-of-pocket costs associated with your volunteer work.
The basic rules
As with any charitable donation, for you to be able to deduct your volunteer expenses, the first requirement is that the organization be a qualified charity. You can use the IRS’s “Tax Exempt Organization Search” tool (formerly “Select Check”) at https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search to find out.
Assuming the charity is qualified, you may be able to deduct out-of-pocket costs that are:
- Directly connected with the services you’re providing,
- Incurred only because of your charitable work, and
- Not “personal, living or family” expenses.
Supplies, uniforms […]
WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service today issued a warning about possible fake charity scams emerging due to Hurricane Harvey and encouraged taxpayers to seek out recognized charitable groups for their donations.
While there has been an enormous wave of support across the country for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, people should be aware of criminals who look to take advantage of this generosity by impersonating charities to get money or private information from well-meaning taxpayers. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, e-mail or in-person solicitations.
Criminals often send emails that steer recipients to bogus websites that appear to be affiliated with legitimate charitable causes. These sites frequently mimic the sites of, or use names similar to, legitimate charities, or claim to be affiliated with legitimate charities in order to persuade people to send money or provide personal financial information that can be used to steal identities or financial resources.
IRS.gov has the tools people need to quickly and easily check the status of charitable organizations.
The IRS cautions people wishing to make disaster-related charitable donations to avoid scam artists by following these tips:
- Be sure to donate to recognized charities.
- Be wary […]
During the summer, some taxpayers may travel because of their involvement with a qualified charity. These traveling taxpayers may be able to lower their taxes.
Here are some tax tips for taxpayers to use when deducting charity-related travel expenses:
- Qualified Charities. For a taxpayer to deduct costs, they must volunteer for a qualified charity. Most groups must apply to the IRS to become qualified. Churches and governments are generally qualified, and do not need to apply to the IRS. A taxpayer should ask the group about its status before they donate. Taxpayers can also use the Select Check tool on IRS.gov to check a group’s status.
- 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:
- Directly connected with the services,
- Expenses the taxpayer had only because of the services the taxpayer gave, and
- 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 […]
Today 1344 eyes are smiling, seeing “mas claro” in 672 very grateful Nicaraguans in the Rio San Juan Region of southern Nicaragua. Many of the those same people are equipped with both distance and near pair of glasses and protective sunglasses, “gafas” to keep damaging UV rays off their eyes. In addition, 103 mouths are “mucho mas limpio”, reflecting improved oral health and a shift in treatment from extraction to restoration and prevention.
This year, the returning Nicaraguan Couple-Dentists Javier and Ana from the 200 km north capital Managua again worked with a Dental Hygienist from the Sabalos Regional Clinic to treat patients from pre-teen to “viejo”, senior citizens. Peter Hoberg accepted the crucial role of instrument sterilizer, earning himself the unenviable evidence of chemically stained orange fingers. Fortunately he did not exhibit any apparent cognitive lapses while on duty.
Over the course of three days, Sunrise Rotarians and some of their family focused on improving people’s visual acuity. Steve “Grandpa” Zwick was the third generation in his family represented and remarkably both his daughter Jennifer and granddaughter Alessa brought valuable Spanish language and organizational skills. Steve’s español is well known! Alessa, just 12, quickly established […]
The IRS has reminded taxpayers making year-end charitable contributions to keep in mind current tax law requirements. To claim a deduction, donated clothing and household items must be in good or better used condition; monetary donations must be substantiated by a bank record or written statement; donations worth $250 or more must be substantiated by a written acknowledgement that includes, among other things, a description of the items contributed; and special rules apply to donations of cars, boats and airplanes. Furthermore, only donations to eligible organizations are tax-deductible.
Optional standard mileage rates for use of a vehicle will change a little for 2015, the IRS announced on Wednesday, with the business use rate going up and the medical and moving rate going down (Notice 2014-79). Taxpayers can use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile.
For business use of a car, van, pickup truck, or panel truck, the 2015 rate will be 57.5 cents per mile, slightly higher than the 56 cents per mile rate that applies for 2014. Driving for medical or moving purposes may be deducted at 23 cents per mile, which is one-half cent lower than for 2014.
The rate for service to a charitable organization is unchanged, set by statute (Sec. 170(i)) at 14 cents a mile.
The portion of the business standard mileage rate that is treated as depreciation will be 24 cents per mile for 2015, up two cents from the 22-cent rate in effect for 2014.
For purposes of computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate (FAVR) plan, the maximum standard automobile cost for 2015 is $28,200 for automobiles (not including trucks and vans) and $30,800 for trucks […]
To Our Clients and Friends:
As we approach the end of the year, a recent Tax Court case is a good reminder of what it takes to support a deduction for noncash charitable contributions that perhaps you’ve already given this year or plan to donate in the coming weeks.
The taxpayer in the case claimed a deduction of almost $28,000 for three separate noncash donations to a charitable organization. The donated items consisted of clothes, household goods and furniture, and various electronics, including computers and a printer. Because of the size of the donations, he was subject to several documentation requirements related to substantiating his donations. These included:
- A need to obtain a written acknowledgment from the charity (required any time cash or noncash donations are $250 or more) describing what was donated and when, and stating either that no goods or services were rendered in return for the donation or describing and valuing what the charity provided in return. The acknowledgment must be obtained by the time the tax return for the year of the donation is filed or due, whichever comes first.
- A requirement to maintain documentation for noncash donations of the same or similar items […]