Are you one of the 63 million American adults who volunteers for charity? Although there’s no tax deduction for the value of your time, you may be able to deduct unreimbursed costs related to:

  1. Away-from-home travel
  2. Entertaining others (but not yourself)
  3. Driving your vehicle – actual expenses or 14 cents per mile, plus parking and tolls. See IRS Standard Mileage Rates as these rates are subject change.
    • Example: During the year you volunteer 12 times at a nonprofit organization that is 10 miles away (round trip: 20 miles). The total number of miles traveled for your volunteer service is 240 miles for the year. Your deduction for mileage to volunteer would be $33.60.
  4. Required clothing that can’t be used for others purposes.
    • Example: The nonprofit hospital you volunteer at requires you to wear scrubs. You must purchase them, pay to clean them, and they are not suitable for every day use. This is an appropriate expense.

Costs must be incurred while volunteering. If they’re $250 or more, ask the charity to document your contribution and why the expenses were necessary.

IRS Publication 526  lists a few more examples that illustrate this concept.

Must be for qualified organization.

Your donation will be deductible only if it is made to a qualified nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. That is, the IRS must have granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status to the group.

You can find out if the group is a qualified 501(c)(3) organization several ways:

  • Ask the group for a copy of their 501(c)(3) determination letter and letter of affirmation.
  • Check IRS Publication 78, a list of organizations qualified to receive tax-deductible donations. You can find at
  • Call the IRS’s Tax Exempt Customer Account Services line, at 877-829-5500.


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