Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Use your vacation to do something good -- and get a tax write-off

The tragic Gulf oil spill is inspiring people to use their vacation time for good. I applaud these incredibly dedicated people who take the time off work, often traveling long distances, to help those who are in need. Even better, has an article reminding us that these charitable individuals may be eligible for a tax deduction.

Of course, time volunteered is never deductible, travel and out-of-pocket expenses are. According to the article, to qualify for the deduction, your expenses must be:

1. not otherwise reimbursed;
2. directly connected with the services you're performing;
3. expenses you had only because of the services you performed; and
4. not personal, living, or family expenses.

If your summer vacation finds you helping to clean up wildlife in the Gulf, keep track of your travel expenses, this includes gas and maintenance of your vehicle, any parking fees or tolls you pay if you are within driving distance. You are allowed to claim reasonable travel expenses including air or bus fare, reasonable hotel and meal expenses, and taxi rides for getting to and from the volunteering site.

Remember, you’ll have to itemize your deductions to claim these valuable tax breaks, so make sure you understand your own tax situation to make sure you’ll be eligible.

Of course the main reason to get involved in the cleanup is to help others. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the tax breaks your generosity gives you.

Read the entire article here.

Blog Archive