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Tax Breaks for Charitable Work

Here’s why it’s important to have a detailed log of your expenses while working with a charity.

Question: As a retiree, I’ve been volunteering more with nonprofits. Can I deduct expenses when traveling to meetings on behalf of the charities? - S.A., Marietta, Ga.

Answer: You can deduct unreimbursed travel expenses as a charitable donation if you file an itemized tax return and the trip is primarily for your work with the nonprofit. You can deduct airfare, lodging, meals and—if driving—parking, tolls and mileage at a rate of 14 cents per mile. Keep a mileage log with the date and reason for the trip. You should get a letter from the charity confirming your activity and stating that no goods or services were exchanged, says Morris Armstrong, an enrolled agent in Cheshire, Conn., who can represent taxpayers before the IRS.

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