How to Deduct Volunteer Expenses to Save on Your Taxes

To deduct unreimbursed volunteer expenses, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You itemize your tax deductions.
  • You must be a volunteer for a qualified charitable organization.
  • The costs must be directly related to your work for the charity.
  • You must incur the expenses only because of your volunteer work.
  • The charity must not reimburse the expenses.

You can deduct your unreimbursed volunteer expenses on Schedule A of Form 1040 if you meet these requirements. To do this, you will need to itemize your deductions. You can find more information about itemizing deductions on the IRS website.

Examples of Non-Deductible Expenses

Personal expenses are not deductible. Here are some examples:

  • Child care while volunteering
  • Cleaning personal clothing used while volunteering
  • Food or drinks if the volunteer is not away from home overnight

Examples of Deductible Expenses

Here are some examples of unreimbursed volunteer expenses that you may be able to deduct:

  • Mileage for travel to and from volunteer events
  • Supplies and materials used for volunteer work
  • Uniforms and clothing required for volunteer work
  • Meals and lodging incurred while away from home for volunteer work

You can deduct actual driving expenses instead of miles, but you cannot deduct depreciation, maintenance, repairs, or licenses and registration fees.

Keeping Accurate Records of Volunteer Expenses

The header section with open fields for the volunteer expense tracking template
Volunteer Expense Tracking Template

You will need to keep accurate records of your unreimbursed expenses. These records should include each expense’s date, purpose, and amount. You can keep a log of your expenses or use a credit card that tracks your spending. If the IRS audits you, you will need to be able to provide proof of your unreimbursed costs. This proof includes your records of the expenses and any receipts or documentation you have. has created a template custom-made for deducting volunteer expenses. You can use TripTally to calculate the mileage between addresses in the log.


By properly tracking and deducting your unreimbursed volunteer expenses, you can reduce your taxable income and save money on your taxes.

Video Tutorial

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