Individual taxpayers that help rescue and foster animals for a charitable organization may be able to deduct unreimbursed volunteer expenses as charitable contributions on their tax returns this year. The US Tax Court recently allowed a taxpayer that helps a local nonprofit by fostering cats in her home deduct associated unreimbursed expenses as charitable deductions. Some of these expenses included vet expenses, pet supplies, cleaning supplies, and increased utility bills.
Individuals looking to deduct similar expenses should adhere to the following guidelines:
- Look to whether the charitable work “caused or necessitated” the expenses– unreimbursed expenses must be directly connected with and solely attributable to the rendition of services to a qualified charitable organization.
- Keep good records of all expenditures.
- For all expenditures greater than $250, individuals must obtain prior to filing a written acknowledgement from the donee organization, containing: a description of the services provided; a statement of whether the organization provided any consideration in return for the services; and a good faith estimate of the value of the goods and services provided to the organization.
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