Traveling for charitable purposes? The expenses may be tax-deductible

Some Americans may travel the distance each year to donate their time to an educational organization or a church program. Depending on how much time an individual devotes to the charitable activity, the expenses for the trip may be tax-deductible.

Though the time a person devotes to a charity is not tax-deductible, their travel expenses may be, especially if they serve on another side of the country. For example, Americans that volunteer at local soup kitchens may only be able to deduct their transportation. However, those that fly across the country to volunteer with a qualified organization may be able to deduct most of their expenses - including airfare, hotel, transportation and meals.

In order to write off the expenses, however, volunteers must spend the majority of their time participating in the charitable activity itself. This means that if a person travels to California to help lead a youth group, they cannot spend a few hours a day teaching the children and the rest of day by the pool, the Los Angeles Times explains.

Volunteers should keep detailed receipts and records of all charitable activities performed. Americans unsure of whether their volunteer functions are deductible should consult a tax preparer during filing season.


Liberty Tax Service provides computerized income tax preparation and electronic filing. Each tax office offers customers audit assistance, a money back guarantee, and free tax return checking.