Editor's Note: This article is part of our 2014 Tax Tips series. Robert Flach is an expert with more than 40 years of experience as a tax professional and also blogs as The Wandering Tax Pro.
NEW YORK (MainStreet) Do you do volunteer work for your church or a local charity? Do you deliver meals to the homebound or drive elderly patients to medical appointments? Were you a scout leader or a member of the Board of your church or a local non-profit organization? You cannot deduct the value of your time or services, but you can deduct as a Contribution on Schedule A any out of pocket expenses you may incur while doing volunteer work.
You can deduct 14 cents per mile, plus any parking fees and tolls, for using your car to deliver meals to the homebound, driving elderly patients to medical appointments. or attending scout activities or Board meetings. While other standard mileage allowances are set annually by the IRS, the deduction for using your car for charity work is set by Congress and has remained the same for many years.
You can deduct the cost to purchase and clean your scouting uniform and other out of pocket costs involved with your duties.
Did you bake a cake or cookies for a church bazaar? You can deduct the cost of the ingredients used in baking the cake or cookies.
If you are the official delegate, elected or appointed by a local Board, to a regional or national convention of a church or charity you can deduct the unremibursed costs of attending the convention.
As with any other contribution it is important to keep good records, including a log of your deductible travel. And a letter from the church or charity thanking you for your volunteer service is also good to have.
--Written by Robert D. Flach for MainStreet