January is noteworthy as the time for resolutions to improve ourselves and the time that marks the beginning of the dreaded income tax season. If you combine the two, you might find that you can resolve to save a little on your taxes by calculating the charitable value of your volunteering.
One of the easiest and most often overlooked areas on which we can claim back a little is on mileage deductions to our volunteer activities. For example, if you work twice per week in your child's school, which is 6 miles from your house, you can claim 24 miles per week on the volunteer mileage deduction. In the course of the 40 week school year, that adds up to a deduction value of $67.20.
Sadly, it's only 14 cents per mile as a deduction for volunteering, versus the 50.5 cents you could claim for early 2008 for business miles, but hey, it's something. And when you have regular activities (all of which you probably noted in your family calendar) such as boy scout trips, church volunteering, or Little League coaching, you might find it adds up to more than you think.
Donations of supplies also has a deductible value. What if you did a big print job for your kids sports team car wash? Deduct the value of the ink and supplies used to print the flyers.
Can everyone deduct this stuff? No, and only your tax professional can tell you for sure. But if you deduct, this is probably an option that could save you a little on taxes this year -- and as we know, this is the time to try to save money any way you can think of it!!