So, you decided to help out a local nonprofit and volunteered your professional services. Will you be able to write this off on your tax return as a donation?
Not so much. You cannot claim a charitable deduction for the value of your services, no matter how much time and effort you put in. However, you can write off your out-of-pocket costs such as making photocopies for meetings, art supplies needed to teach a Sunday School class, treats used to feed dogs that you’re training at the shelter, or driving your personal vehicle (at the rate of 14 cents per mile) plus other related expenses. The deduction is claimed on Schedule A as a personal contribution; there is no deduction for your business, unfortunately.
Rather than looking for deductions, consider this a great opportunity for some positive P.R.! Ask the organization if they can recognize you in their next newsletter or awards program. I have a landscaping company that does work for a local nonprofit. In return, they have a tasteful sign with their name on it at the organization’s headquarters in the beautiful landscaping. While it may not result in a deduction, this kind of good deed is a real win-win for both the nonprofit and the small business!
Additionally, look to volunteering to boost your business skills. Wanting to brush up on a service and feel a little real client practice would be beneficial? Consider offering that service as a donation to your favorite organization in exchange for a testimonial. You’ll both benefit in the end.
Share some of your volunteering experiences here. We’d love to give you kudos for a job well done.
Deb Howard Greenleaf, EA, CEO and Principal, of Greenleaf Accounting Services provides virtual accounting and bookkeeping services and specializes in financial management to consultants, coaches, solo professionals, and other small business owners across the US. Deb is an Enrolled Agent (EA)—an IRS-licensed tax professional—and specializes in small businesses and entrepreneurs filing Schedule C or as an LLC. As an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Deb spends her day in QuickBooks Online and specializes in providing QBO support.