Tax Deductions for Volunteers

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With the income tax deadline approaching next month, volunteer youth workers should know that they can take some tax deductions for their efforts.

“We advise the mentors to make use of the government’s tax incentives for charitable contributions,” said Michael Hackman, director of agency development for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, which tries to get out the word about tax deductions.

For example, mentors can deduct 14 cents per mile for driving their mentees to and from activities, and driving to and from the youths’ locations, according to Independent Sector, a coalition of philanthropic foundations. They can also deduct the costs of such activities as movie tickets and meals at restaurants for both themselves and their mentees, Hackman said.

Volunteers can deduct travel expenses, including public transportation, meals and lodging, while away from home working for a charitable organization, says The Points of Light Foundation.

An individual cannot deduct the value of income lost while working as a volunteer.

Here are resources for more information:

• “Volunteer Management Tip Sheet,” from the Points of Light Foundation, explains deductions for volunteers. It can be found through the search function at

• Information on tax deductions for volunteers can be found at the IRS website,, under Publication 526, “Charitable Contributions.”

• The National Foster Parent Association provides information about deductions and credits available to foster, adoptive and kinship families at