It’s true that the deductions available to volunteers may not add up to big dollars, since there’s no deduction for the actual hours put in. Even a highly skilled volunteer, such as a graphic designer or lawyer, can’t deduct the value of his or her time. But volunteers can get some dollar return for other expenses they pay in order to volunteer.

Here’s what the IRS will allow volunteers at nonprofits to deduct from their taxable income: Car and transportation expenses. Volunteers can deduct car and transportation expenses incurred to get back and forth from home to your office, or to meetings or other sites. Volunteers who drive can choose between deducting actual gas and oil used, or else take a mileage deduction at the rate of 14 cents per mile. Given the high cost of gasoline today, most volunteers are better off keeping track of actual driving expenses. Volunteers can also add in parking fees and tolls. However, volunteers cannot claim general car repair and maintenance expenses, depreciation, registration fees, or the costs of tires or insurance. Those volunteers taking public transportation can deduct subway, bus, or taxi fare.

Travel expenses. The volunteer can deduct travel expenses, such as airfare and other transport, accommodations, and meals, when performing services away from home. However, there are important limitations: The volunteer cannot gain significant personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation from the travel. And the volunteer must really be working.

Limits on Deductions The following limitations apply to these deductions: Your organization must be a qualified, IRS-recognized charity. In order to take these deductions, volunteers must itemize their deductions on their tax return. ¬†Volunteers cannot double-dip by claiming expenses for which the nonprofit already reimbursed them. The expenses must be directly related to the volunteers’ work, and incurred only because of that work. The expenses can’t be personal, for family, or for living items or activities. Volunteers must keep reliable written records of the expenses.