Volunteer Marketing Services, Tax Deductible?


Let’s review the IRS guidelines: 

Question: I volunteer 6 hours a week in the office of a qualified organization. The receptionist is paid $10 an hour for the same work. Can I deduct $60 a week for my time?

Answer:  No, you cannot deduct the value of your time or services.

Question:  The office is 30 miles from my home. Can I deduct any of my car expenses for these trips?

Answer: Yes, you can deduct the costs of gas and oil that are directly related to getting to and from the place where you volunteer. If you do not want to figure your actual costs, you can deduct 14 cents for each mile.

Question: I volunteer as a Red Cross nurse’s aide at a hospital. Can I deduct the cost of the uniforms I must wear?

Answer: Yes, you can deduct the cost of buying and cleaning your uniforms if the hospital is a qualified organization, the uniforms are not suitable for everyday use, and you must wear them when volunteering.

Question: I pay a babysitter to watch my children while I volunteer for a qualified organization. Can I deduct these costs?

Answer: No, you cannot deduct payments for childcare expenses as a charitable contribution, even if you would be unable to volunteer without childcare.

There are even more restrictions to charitable service based donations.  The following are not tax deductible:

(1) A contribution to a specific individual,

(2) A contribution to a non-qualified organization,

(3) The part of a contribution from which you receive or expect to receive a benefit,

(4) The value of your time or services,

(5) Your personal expenses,

(6) A qualified charitable distribution from an individual retirement arrangement (IRA),

(7) Appraisal fees,

(8) Certain contributions to donor­ advised funds, or

(9) Certain contributions of partial interest in property.

Volunteering services is generally not tax deductible.  As for what paper work you will be required to keep, here is what the IRS says.  

“ Regardless of the amount, to deduct a contribution of cash, check, or other monetary gift, you must maintain a bank record, payroll deduction records or a written communication from the organization containing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution and amount of the contribution. For text message donations, a telephone bill will meet the record-keeping requirement if it shows the name of the receiving organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount given.”

“To claim a deduction for contributions of cash or property equaling $250 or more you must have a bank record, payroll deduction records or a written acknowledgment from the qualified organization showing the amount of the cash and a description of any property contributed, and whether the organization provided any goods or services in exchange for the gift. One document may satisfy both the written communication requirement for monetary gifts and the written acknowledgement requirement for all contributions of $250 or more. If your total deduction for all noncash contributions for the year is over $500, you must complete and attach IRS Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, to your return.”