Monday, November 11, 2013

Can I Deduct Charitable Travel?

This is a great question because many people volunteer time at charitable organizations and from time to time need to travel as a result of the work. The answer is often yes; however, there are several requirements that must be met in order for the travel to qualify for deductibility:
  • First, you must be itemizing your deductions or you cannot deduct charitable travel.
  • The volunteer work must be with a qualified charity. You can determine the charity’s status by asking them whether they are tax-exempt or by utilizing the IRS website at and using “Select Check” to determine the organization’s qualification.
  • Unreimbursed travel expenses are the only allowable deductions when working as a volunteer. Your time and services are not deductible no matter how valuable they might be.
  • The travel must be primarily for work purposes. There cannot be a “significant” element of pleasure, recreation or vacation involved. While you can enjoy yourself, you cannot include personal activities in the travel and expect it to be deductible.
  • Your work involvement during the trip must be real and significant. You cannot be there in a supporting role with few or no duties.
Once you are certain your volunteer work travel is deductible, the eligible expenses may include:
  • Air, bus or train travel
  • Automobile travel
  • Lodging expenses
  • Meals
  • Cab fares or other expenses related to moving between airport, hotel and work location
Contact us with any questions regarding charitable travel expenses 916-576-7050.

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