Tax Tip: Deduct Your Volunteer Expenses

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Many people contribute more than cash or property to a church or charity -- they also contribute their time as a volunteer. You cannot deduct the value of your time or services, but you can deduct any out-of-pocket expenses you may have incurred while doing volunteer work.

Did you bake a cake or cookies for a church bazaar, deliver meals to the homebound or drive elderly patients to medical appointments? Were you a scout leader? If so, you can deduct the cost of ingredients used for baking the cake or cookies.

You can deduct 14 cents per mile, plus any parking fees and tolls, for using your car to deliver meals to the homebound or driving elderly patients to medical appointments. While other standard mileage allowances are set annually by the IRS, the deduction for using your car for charity is set by Congress and has remained the same for many years.

You can also deduct the cost to buy and clean your scouting uniform, mileage for driving to scouting events and other costs involved with your duties.

If you are the official delegate and were elected or appointed by a local Board to a regional or national convention of a church or charity, you can deduct the unremibursed costs of attending the convention as well.

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