Claiming Deductions for Volunteer Work

Volunteering helps others and gives you a feeling of satisfaction. And it may also give you a tax deduction. To qualify for a deduction, your expenses must directly relate to the charity where you volunteer. Additionally, you must not have been reimbursed for those volunteering expenses and must itemize deductions.


You may deduct expenses for things like postage, paper, printer ink, or other out-of-pocket costs incurred while volunteering. The cost of gear or a uniform, and possibly cleaning services may be deductible.

Any expenses the nonprofit reimburses are not deductible.


If you use your car for volunteer work, you may be able to deduct 14 cents a mile or the cost of your unreimbursed gas but not your car’s maintenance. Other reasonable travel expenses will be tax deductible if tied to your volunteer work. Meals for volunteer service are 100% deductible.


You need to substantiate your volunteer expenses. So, as with any deductible expense, keep accurate records. Retain any paper and electronic
receipts and keep a mileage log. This will help make tracking expenses and providing the details to your tax professional at tax time easier.