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Tax question re: volunteering expenses

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Tanuki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-11 10:12 AM
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Tax question re: volunteering expenses
I have volunteered informally teaching English to recent immigrants, and would like to improve my skills by taking courses and obtaining certification. I will only use these skills as a volunteer, as I have a career in an unrelated field. Would I be able to deduct the cost of my tuition and expenses?
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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-03-11 11:26 PM
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1. From a 5 minute read on www.irs.gov, it doesn't appear so...but you might have an alternative.
Edited on Fri Jun-03-11 11:30 PM by A HERETIC I AM
IRS Publication 526 deals with Charitable giving.

Here's a link to the table of contents page;

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p526/index.html
Under "Contributions you can deduct" check out "Out of pocket expenses while giving services".

It does not mention anything about taking classes needed during the course of doing volunteer work.

Here is the alternative which may provide some method for doing what you seek.

IRS Publication 970 deals with education expenses and what is deductible;

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/index.html

You may find a way to deduct the costs associated with the classes you intend to take in that publication.


I am in no way a Tax attorney and for this question, if you can't find the answer on the IRS website, I would strongly suggest you ask an attorney. You should also consider calling your local IRS office directly. While it is possible you may spend some time on the phone finding the person who can answer your question, they are after all, there to help and if you are entitled to the deduction, they will tell you.


Good luck and kudos on your efforts.
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