Tax Deduction for Donating Consulting Services to Non-Profit Organization

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There's no tax deduction for donating time or services to a non-profit group. Even if you're a professional consultant, the IRS says offering your consulting services for free isn't a write-off. You may be able to write off some of the related costs, but likely that your only reward for your contributions will be personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

Deductions

  • If you drive to a meeting with the non-profit, you can write off your trip at 14 cents a mile. Out-of-town overnight travel lets you deduct travel costs, lodging and meals; unlike the business-meal deduction, you can claim 100 percent of the meal costs. Any property or equipment your company donates to the charity that you're collaborating with is usually deductible. IRS Publication 526 spells out the rules for setting a value on non-cash donations.

Qualified Group

  • You can't take any tax deductions for mileage or anything else unless the group qualifies for tax-deductible contributions. The IRS has an online tool you can use to look up any group you're thinking of helping out. Government bodies and churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious groups usually qualify. Beyond that, you can deduct donations to most charities, educational groups, research organizations, veterans' groups and fraternal orders. Falling into these categories doesn't guarantee contributions are deductible, though.

Records

  • If you take the charitable deduction, keep excellent records. For example, if you're writing off mileage or travel expenses, the IRS will want to know the name of the group, the dates of your trips and the reason it was deductible. If your business donates property, you need a receipt from the charity proving you made the gift. A really valuable donation may require an appraisal as well. The IRS scrutinizes the charity write-off for potential fraud, so keeping records protects you.

Business Structure

  • If you're a sole proprietorship or a partner, you can't write off donations as a business expense. You have to report them as an itemized deduction on Schedule A. The same rule applies for an S corporation or limited liability company. Only a C corporation gets to take a charitable donation as a business expense, writing it off on the company's taxes. If you pay the non-profit for a service, such as buying ads in a symphony program, you can treat that as a business expense, rather than charity.

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