Since our first post on deductions that you may have missed, several more items have come to mind that we find clients tend to forget or just don’t know that they’re existent. Most clients either volunteer for some charity work, serve on the boards of private or public foundations, help out at a shelter, or run some errands for their local church. Any of these activities may open the possibility for the following deductions that you may not have considered in your tax planning.
- If you use your own vehicle to drive to charitable events or functions, you can deduct the expenses attributable to those trips – gas, oil, insurance, and repairs – or use a flat-rate deduction of fourteen cents per mile (plus related parking fees and tolls).
- You can deduct the costs associated with attending a convention on behalf of a charitable organization if you’ve been designated as an official delegate to the convention. This includes meals and lodging while you’re staying at the convention.
- A taxpayer can deduct the cost of paper, postage, and other out-of-pocket costs incurred while sending out mailings on behalf of a charity – even amounts spent on paper clips and staples.
- When you have an event at your home to promote charitable fundraising, you can deduct the cost as a charitable expense without regard to the usual 50 percent limit on entertainment deductions.
- Although you can’t deduct basic landline or cell phone charges, additional costs for long-distance telephone calls are deductible. Similarly, you may write off the cost of a separate phone or fax line installed in your home solely for charitable activities.
- If you’re required to wear a uniform or other special clothing during certain activities – such as troop leaders for the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts – you may deduct the cost as long as it’s not suitable for everyday wear. In addition, the cost of cleaning the clothing counts toward the deduction for miscellaneous expenses.
- The cost of air, rail, bus, or taxicab fare spent while performing services for a charity are deductible. Furthermore, you may deduct meals and lodging expenses on a charitable trip. But remember, there can’t be any significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel.
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