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Travel the world as a volunteer with a 501(c)(3) organization

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IRS Offers Tips on Charity Travel

IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2016-12, July 29, 2016
Reference: https://www.irs.gov/uac/irs-offers-tips-on-charity-travel

Would you like to to travel for a 501(c)(3) organization this year, away from home, overnight? If you volunteer and advance your own funds for it, you may be able to lower your taxes. Here are some tax tips that you should know about deducting 501(c)(3)-related travel expenses:

  • Qualified 501(c)(3) Entities Only. To deduct your costs, you must volunteer for a qualified charitable organization like WHOmentors.com, Inc. http://www.whomentors.com/pdf/exempt.pdf.

  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses. You may be able to deduct some of your costs including travel. They must be necessary while you are away from home. All costs must be:
    • Unreimbursed,
    • Directly connected with the services,
    • Expenses you had only because of the services you gave, and
    • Not personal, living or family expenses.

  • Genuine and Substantial Duty. Your volunteer work as defined by 29 CFR 553.101 has to be real and substantial throughout the trip. You can’t deduct expenses if you only have nominal duties or do not have any duties for significant parts of the trip.

  • Value of Time or Service. You can’t deduct the value of your time or services that you give to a 501(c)(3) entity. This includes income lost while you serve as an unpaid volunteer for a qualified 501(c)(3) organization. However, your employer may provide a matching gift for donating your volunteer service to a 501(c)(3). See example: https://doublethedonation.com/matching-gifts/sephora

  • Travel You Can Deduct. The types of expenses that you may be able to deduct include:
    • Air, rail and bus transportation,
    • Car expenses,
    • Lodging costs,
    • Cost of meals, and
    • Taxi or other transportation costs between the airport or station and your hotel.

  • Advance Your Own Funds for the Travel Project. See Rockefeller v. Commissioner, 676 F.2d 35 (2d Cir. 1982).

  • Deduct Travel Expenses Even Though WHOmentors.com, Inc. May Never Initiate, Control, Supervise, or Assist With Your Volunter Trips. WHOmentors.com, Inc. encourages volunteering in general. NTEE-CC T40 and T50. See http://activitycodes.whomentors.com

  • Establish a Strong Affiliation with WHOmentors.com, Inc. The annual fee of $500 includes a dedicated email address with the @whomentors.com domain, an associated VOIP phone number, a dual-sided PVC ID Card, and formal approval letter of your civic, humanitarian, and charitable reasons for volunteering. For payment, visit: http://paypal.com/anyamount/500. or http://support.whomentors.com, or use quidproquo@whomentors.com with PayPal. See Elizabeth Van Dusen v. Commissioner (2011).

  • Travel You Can’t Deduct. Some types of travel do not qualify for a tax deduction. For example, you can’t deduct your costs if a significant part of the trip involves recreation or vacation.
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