Rescue Lines – Spring 2015 – Saving Lives Can Save Money at Tax Season

by: Melinda Davis

During this time of year, a citizen’s fancy turns to taxes. Well that may be an exaggeration, but it is something we all have to spend time addressing. While you are working through your income taxes, don’t forget that becoming a volunteer may make you eligible for additional deductions.

For any contribution to be deductible, it must be made to a qualifying organization and meet certain substantiation requirements (use IRS publications 78 and 1771 for reference).

Most of us are familiar with cash contributions, but non-cash contributions also count. While the value of your time is not considered deductible, other out-of-pocket expenses are if other conditions are met, such as:

  • Mileage at $0.14 per mile for federal purposes. Virginia allows an additional $0.06 per mile. This includes mileage to and from your home to the reporting site as well as any calls you make in your personal vehicle and/or any errands you run on behalf of the squad.
  • Uniforms unsuitable for everyday use, including the cost of cleaning and maintaining the uniform.
  • Equipment purchased to perform your volunteer service or to contribute to the organization.
  • Supplies, whether office or medical, that you purchase for the benefit of the organization.
  • Travel away from home on behalf of the organization (meals at 50{543ea03a3bb8014408f5dde5a75a383e871d6d38ca7f937ec3aa0b8ea9b322be} of cost).
    If any of the above costs are reimbursed, the amount of the deduction should be reduced by the

    reimbursement amount. All of the above require that there not be a significant personal benefit. It is important to keep all receipts, document the purposes of the expense and, if the amount is significant, obtain a receipt or acknowledgement from the organization.

    Each tax situation is unique, so consult your tax advisor to determine how to assess your personal needs.

    Melinda Davis is a tax partner with the Norfolk office of Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP. She assists individuals and businesses of all sizes with income tax compliance and serves as a firm resource in the area of multi-state taxation.