Tax deduction question

I already deduct my travel expenses associated with volunteering. But, does anyone know if FIRST is a qualified charitable organization if volunteering internationally?

Asking because it would make it a lot easier to justify weeks three and four in Sydney, but I can’t seem to find a definitive answer on the IRS web site.

I’m no tax lawyer, but I would think it should count, as long as you’re volunteering for FIRST of Manchester, NH. I’m not as sure for international districts (like Ontario or Israel), as my understanding is that it’s the local district that puts on those events. But even if the event is out of the country, it sure sounds to me like “Out-of-pocket expenses when you serve a qualified organization as a volunteer” per Pub. 526, since FIRST is a qualified organization and you’re there to serve them.

It may be worthwhile emailing to see what they say, though it wouldn’t shock me if they only have a generic “consult your tax advisor” response.

1 Like

The good news: Founded in 1989 and based in Manchester, NH, FIRST is a 501©(3) not-for-profit public charity designed to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, and to motivate them to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM fields.

The not so good news: You must Itemize your deductions on your tax form
14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations. This assumes you are not also transporting kids to take part in that competition as that’s personal mileage use.

The don’t waste your time news: Most don’t itemize any more, with new Fed Tax code.

More info:

International Specifics: With the exception of certain Canadian, Israeli and Mexican charities, all qualified organizations are based in the United States. You can’t deduct unless its against earning in those three countries that a “charitable deduction” can go against
“taxable earnings” in that country. " Generally need to earn taxable income in the foreign country before the IRS will let you deduct some of your volunteer expenses."

I watched your response get longer and more nuanced as this page was open while I’m here at EMCC. I could see pretty much in real time as your reading on this tracked what I did a few days ago.

I was hoping I’d find someone here who had done one of these events outside the US (China, Australia, Turkey or Israel pre-districts) and had specific experience deducting expenses because as you found “it’s complicated.”

If only it were as straightforward as deducting expenses while working at the captain of a whaling ship.

1 Like

I might be wrong, but as a student and volunteer in Israe, the Israeli volunteer landscape consists mainly (probably like 99%) of Israeli volunteers nowadays.

Edit: nevermind, just noticed the pre-districts