004 – Doing Good Matters – Charity volunteer tax deductions

Charity Volunteer Tax Deductions

Welcome back to the weekly Doing Good Matters podcast

This is the podcast dedicated to those generous people across the U.S. who donate their time and money to charities.

  • By giving our time and money, we help make the world a better place.
  • By giving our time and money, we do good — and doing good matters.
  • And there’s a lot of good remaining to be done, both locally and globally.

Making sure our donated time and money is well spent takes thought and effort. It’s serious work.

This is Ed Long. Each week on this podcast I talk about charities and provide actionable tips to help donors and volunteers to take their philanthropy to the next level and do good even better.

Because doing good matters.


Episode 004

  • Charity Volunteer Tax Deductions. We take the mystery out of volunteer tax deductions.IRS
    1. Two basic questions: Do you itemize? Is the group you volunteer for a Qualified Organization?
    2. The basic 4-part test.
    3. Using your car.
    4. FAQ: “I donate time or services. How much can I deduct?” Answer: Nothing.
    5. Quick links:
  • Today’s question comes from Dick in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, who asks about the list of “bad” and “good” charities sent to him by a friend.
    1. The list is found in different formats circulating by email and on Facebook.
    2. As generous as I can get: the list is out-of-date, inaccurate, simplistic nonsense. It could even be worse than that, misleading people to donate to weak, even Vampire, charities.
    3. The list focuses on charity chief executive compensation. Yes, there are charity chief executives who get paid too much, but they’re a small minority. And a CEO getting paid nothing is also not necessarily a good sign. Read the recent CharityNavigator study of charity executive compensation.
    4. We all have to dig deeper than depending on a list like this.
  • Today’s sponsor is the number 70.5. Do you know someone who is age 70.5 (70 and 1/2) or older, who has an IRA and donates to charities? Good news for them: they can donate tax-free directly from their IRA. But this special rule expires December 31, 2013. Read our full article.

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  • Send me an email at ed[@]seriousgivers.org.

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Coming up next week: Keep track of your donations. Sponsored by the number 64.3 million.

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About Ed Long, the podcaster

Podcaster Ed Long has been preparing more than 40 years to do this podcast. He knows charities and the rules that apply to them. He’s analyzed charity finances and operations.  He’s founded and run charities, and volunteered for them. He’s helped the public and law enforcement fight fake charities, and has served as a philanthropy educator and coach. Before all that he worked as a partner with a major Wall Street law firm. Ed is the founder and CEO of SeriousGivers, which itself is a charity.

Ed knows the great work that strong charities can do with the resources entrusted to them, and is passionate about helping others find and support strong charities.