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Tax deductions for mentoring programs and donations

You should consult with your tax professional, but generally, you can deduct mileage and expenses donated or incurred directly to your work with the Boone County Mentoring Partnership.

It can get a little confusing, but the IRS has advised that “reasonable” un-reimbursed out-of-pocket expenses incurred while you volunteer with your mentee is a valid, deductible expense. The IRS uses examples of swimming, going to a movie, attending a sporting event, and eating out as “reasonable.” Your personal expenses are not deductible, but mileage to and from your mentee or event is.

It gets tricky if you and your mentee head out to lunch, split a pizza, then pay admission to a rock-climbing gym before dropping them off and heading back to your home. In this scenario, you could deduct the mileage to and from all of these locations if you record the distance, purpose, and date. You can also deduct the cost of the child’s gym admission and the cost of the pizza for whatever the child ate, but not what you ate. So if your mentee ate half the pizza, then deduct 50% of the cost of the pizza.

You legally can’t deduct mileage to any location you might stop off at — like returning a package “on the way” — since that’s a personal matter and not likely in pursuit of working with your mentee. If in doubt, talk to a tax professional.

All donations made directly to BCMP are also deductible, whether made in-kind or with cash.

You CAN deduct

  • The cost of the child’s meals
  • The cost of the child’s tickets or admission to events or venues
  • Mileage to and from any location involving your mentee at .14 cents/mile
  • In-kind donations to BCMP, such as furniture, at fair-market value
  • Cash donations to BCMP
  • Out-of-pocket expenses incurred while volunteering, such as buying tools or uniforms

You CAN’T deduct

  • The cost of your meals
  • The cost of your tickets or admission to events or venues
  • Mileage to and from any location not reasonably involving your mentee
  • Tolls, depreciation, or non-fuel expenses
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