The Senate Finance Committee passed a tax extenders bill with a bipartisan vote of 23 to 3 that extends over 50 tax breaks for two years.
The bill would extend dozens of tax breaks that expired at the end of last year. Last December, Congress only managed to extend the tax breaks for an extra two weeks through the end of the year and retroactively for the rest of 2014, allowing tax season to proceed this past tax season without new forms needing to be created by the IRS.
The bipartisan tax extenders package includes provisions to assist families, individuals and small businesses. Among the more popular provisions are the $250 above-the-line tax deduction for teachers and other school professionals for expenses paid or incurred for books and supplies, mortgage debt relief, the deduction for mortgage insurance premiums, the deduction for state and local general sales taxes, the above-the-line deduction for higher education expenses, tax-free distributions from individual retirement plan for charitable purposes, and the research and experimentation tax credit.
Do you plan to travel while doing charity work this summer? Some travel expenses may help lower your taxes if you itemize deductions when you file next year. Here are five tax tips the IRS wants you to know about travel while serving a charity.
- You must volunteer to work for a qualified organization. Ask the charity about its tax-exempt status. You can also visit IRS.gov and use the Select Check tool to see if the group is qualified.
- You may be able to deduct unreimbursed travel expenses you pay while serving as a volunteer. You can’t deduct the value of your time or services.
- The deduction qualifies only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation or vacation in the travel. However, the deduction will qualify even if you enjoy the trip.
- You can deduct your travel expenses if your work is real and substantial throughout the trip. You can’t deduct expenses if you only have nominal duties or do not have any duties for significant parts of the trip.
- Deductible travel expenses may include:
• Air, rail and bus transportation
• Car expenses (i.e. Mileage to and from the airport)
• Lodging costs
• The cost of meals
• Baggage fees, luggage expenses, passport fees, etc.
To learn more see Publication 526, Charitable Contributions. The booklet is available at IRS.gov