Are you getting all the deductions you're entitled too? Are you ready to save more on your taxes this year? I'm in the middle of collecting all my tax related documents to do the best job possible on my taxes, and maximize deductions -- and there are a number of ways to save on tax by volunteering. These areas of charitable deductions were created in the tax code to encourage and reward community and charitable service, and it's our job to take advantage of them!
One of the easiest and most often overlooked areas on which we can claim back a little is on mileage deductions to our volunteer activities. For example, if you work 2x per week in your child's school, which is 6 miles from your house, you can claim 24 miles per week on the volunteer mileage deduction. In the course of the 40 week school year, that adds up to a deduction value of $67.20.
Sadly, it's only 14 cents per mile as a deduction for volunteering, versus the 50.5 cents you could claim for early 2008 for business miles, but hey, it's something. And when you have regular activities (all of which you probably noted in your family calendar) such as boy scout trips, church volunteering, art docent work or Little League coaching, you might find it adds up to more than you think.
The other big area that people sell themselves short is on donations. We are all asked for donations for church and school supplies, to support a friend running a marathon and raising money for charity, things for the local library, plants for the school garden -- all of these are charitable donations, and all of them can be deducted off your taxes. Even museum memberships are mostly tax deductible donations -- just check to see how much is regarded as the value of the entrance fees -- in many cases its a minor amount and the rest is just a donation.
Donations of supplies also has a deductible value. What if you did a big print job for your kids sports team car wash? Deduct the value of the ink and supplies used to print the flyers.
Can everyone deduct this stuff - no, and only your tax professional can tell you for sure. But if you deduct, this is probably an option that could save you a little on taxes this year -- and as we know, this is the time to try to save money any way you can think of it!! And if you use your family calendar to backtrack all that you've done, save that along with your other tax records as proof of your charitable claims.