Thursday, May 21, 2015

Deductions for Volunteers

Q.  My spouse and I are volunteers at a State Park, approximately 300 miles from our home for 6 weeks. We are not full timers, and are paying for our own travel expenses, meals, plus providing supplies for me to run their Interpretive program and arts/crafts.  Also, I use my POV to distro activity flyers each week at seven locations throughout the park. We also use POV to drive 14 miles RT to obtain supplies, run errands (I paid $55 to print and laminate posters and teaching materials). 

We are keeping gas receipts and logging about 15 miles/day 3-4 times each week. Park provides a RV site, uniform shirt, but we had to purchase work pants, shoes, gloves plus lots of bug spray. 

What are our possible IRS allowable deductions?

A.  Travel from your home to your work place is considered "commuting" and therefore is not a deduction. However, the mileage you put on your POV for business purposes is deductible. In order to take the deduction you must have a log book, kept on a contemporaneous basis showing the mileage & business purpose for your mileage. Personally I keep a little pocket calendar in the glove box of my car during the tax filing season to keep track of mileage for numerous trips to the post office and banks, and the occasional trips to business clients. The IRS is very strict about this: no log, no deduction!

All of your out-of-pocket costs for supplies are deductible. The costs of your uniforms which I know are required are also deductible. The really good news is that the use of your parking space is considered to be for the convenience of your employer, and therefore a tax free benefit! 

Thanks for being a volunteer at one of our beautiful state parks. We just left Valley of the Rogue State Park in OR yesterday and enjoy every minute of our stays in the few state parks where a big rig can fit! Thanks also for writing and stay safe.

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