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UPDATED: This text, aboriginal appear in 2011, was adapted Feb. 6, 2018, with 2017 tax division info. This includes a complete brace and an accurateness analysis by Eagle Scout Michael B. Carr, CPA. (Thanks, Michael!)
DISCLAIMER: While this argument was advised by a CPA, this absolute is advised for advisory purposes only. It is not advised to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, acknowledged or accounting advice. Always argue your own tax, acknowledged and accounting admiral afore agreeable in any transaction.
When Baden-Powell said “Be Prepared,” I’m appealing abiding he wasn’t talking about assets tax returns.
But still, there’s no bigger admonition than that two-word byword during tax time.
Scouters who heeded the Scout Motto aftermost year remembered to clue and certificate their Boy Scouts of America-related expenses. And now, they apperceive that they can accommodate those costs if they plan to catalog their deductions.
But what if you didn’t apperceive that BSA costs were deductible? Or what if your “filing system” is absolutely your cuff alcove that’s blimp with gas receipts and crumpled-up napkins? And what qualifies as an acceptable expense, anyway?
Your adolescent Scouters and I are actuality to help. Along with other Scout leaders on Facebook, I’ve calm some tips to admonition you clue and abstract your BSA-related expenses.
And with the April 17, 2018, deadline approaching fast, there’s no bigger time than now to get started.
General facts you charge to know
Further description for this area comes from the Taxwise Giving newsletter (November 2016 edition).
On IRS Form 1040, “2017 Instructions for Schedule A”, the Boy Scouts of America is listed by name on folio A-9 as a “qualified accommodating organization,” so BSA costs are eligible.Four types of contributions can be deducted:Cash/check donationsProperty donations“Out-of-pocket costs you paid to do advance work”Uniforms for leaders. “Uniforms that aren’t acceptable for accustomed use and that you abrasion while assuming donated casework for a accommodating alignment are accommodating items in the year purchased,” Carr says. “Scout uniforms for leaders qualify.”The bulk of active to and from BSA eventsSome types of accordant contributions cannot be deducted:The bulk of your timeScouting ante or associates feesA addition to a specific individual. This includes giving to the Boy Scouts and allegorical a accurate actuality or Scout as the almsman of your donation.IRS Publication 526 has lots added admonition (thanks, William)
Easy enough, right? Scouters will mainly be anxious with that third blazon of acceptable deductions, “out-of-pocket costs you paid to do advance work.”
Some items that you acquirement to account your assemblage can be deducted, provided your assemblage didn’t balance you for them. You’ll appetite to analysis with your tax able to be sure, but Scouters accept told me they abstract arete brand pamphlets, den affair action kits, Wood Brand advance fees and abundant added — again, as continued as their backpack or troop didn’t balance them.
However, there’s one bulk that I’m assertive you can deduct: the bulk of active to and from BSA events.
How to accommodate active expenses
Included in the third class is active to or from a BSA event. Here’s what the IRS says about mileage:
First, you’re acceptable to abstract the bulk of active to and from the advance work, which would accommodate best BSA activities.You accept two options here:You can booty the absolute bulk of gas and oil, ORYou can booty 14 cents a mile (note: the 2017 bulk for advance assignment breadth charcoal at 14 cents a mile)You can deduct parking and tolls, so add that to the bulk you affirmation beneath either adjustment above.As a reminder, you cannot abstract any expenses, breadth included, that were repaid to you by your unit, district, board or anyone else.You additionally cannot abstract allowance or abrasion on the car.Traveling as a volunteer
If you biking as a advance and charge be abroad from home overnight, reasonable payments for commons and lodgings, as able-bodied as your busline costs (previous section), are deductible. Additionally deductible: your busline costs (air, abuse and bus tickets, or breadth as declared in the antecedent section).
This is area it gets tricky. You can’t abstract biking costs if there’s a “significant aspect of claimed pleasure, amusement or vacation.” But adequate your advance time doesn’t aphorism out a deduction.
For example, if you’re an on-duty troop baton who takes Scouts on a BSA camping trip, you may abstract those biking costs alike if you had a acceptable time.
Next, there’s the catchy allotment of “gifts from which you accept benefit.” Let’s say, for example, that you appear your council’s anniversary dinner. Can you abstract that expense? Sort of.
Here’s what the IRS says: “If you fabricated a allowance and accustomed a account in return, such as food, entertainment, or merchandise, you can about alone abstract the bulk that is added than the bulk of the benefit.”
So if tickets for the board banquet were $75 and the bulk of the banquet was $35, you can alone abstract $40.
Or if you paid $110 for a $100 allowance agenda at a bashful auction, you can alone abstract $10.
Also, you’ll appetite to argue a tax able or the IRS armpit for alone ability of $250 or more. There are appropriate rules that administer to those beyond gifts.
How to abstract ability of added than $250
Here’s what Carr says:
If the baton is deducting added than $250 in a distinct accommodating contribution, he or she should advance a almanac of these costs (credit agenda receipts for travel, archetype of a annulled analysis for banknote donations), as able-bodied a letter from the accommodating alignment showing:
Donee’s nameContribution dateContribution amountIndication the almsman accustomed no appurtenances or casework were in acknowledgment for the gift.How tax law changes will affect Scouters
The beginning for itemizing (filling out the Schedule A) will access from $12,700 for a married-filing-jointly (MFJ) acknowledgment in tax year 2017 to $24,000 for an MFJ acknowledgment in tax year 2018.
As a result, a lot of the abundant tracking Scout leaders may accept done in the accomplished for accommodating givings will no best be all-important in 2018.
Unless accommodating givings, mortgage interest, and accompaniment and bounded tax deductions are greater than $24,000 (MFJ) or $12,000 (Single), a Scout baton won’t be itemizing, and as a aftereffect the accommodating donation won’t be deductible.
Ten tips for befitting clue of it all
Here are 10 tips your adolescent Scouters offered:
Theresa W. keeps a “notebook in the car for tracking mileage! Man, it adds up faster than you think!”“I amend an Excel Spreadsheet with costs, and a binder for receipts,” says Jeff B. “I book out the Excel table back I do my taxes.”Jamie D. additionally has a high-tech approach: “I use Media to clue all our expenses. I set up a class aloof for Scouts.”So does Tom H.: “I have a affairs alleged NeatReceipts that comes with a scanner. I use it for my bulk letters for work. Aloof bead the receipts in the scanner again catagorize them. Set up a accumulation for Scouting and aggregate is there at tax time.”But Michelle H. prefers the low-tech method: “We accept a agenda and a binder (calendar stays in the folder) to accumulate clue of everything!”Patricia L. makes it accessible on her accountant: “I accumulate a book and bead my accommodating receipts in it all year. Our accountant accepted copies of online maps that we acclimated for active directions. Date, purpose, and breadth all in one place.”Julus P. doesn’t itemize, but he ability alpha some day. “Scouting is not for profit, and not a hobby. Granted, it feels like a amusement sometimes! I don’t accumulate clue of all these things but absolutely should!”For Mark F., it’s not account the trouble. “I don’t accumulate up with it. I adore actuality a Cubmaster and affected promotions chair, and so far, it’s cheaper than activity to NASCAR contest and cheaper than advancement my baiter and accompanying accessory I use for fishing!”Shawna R. keeps clue of mileage, but not for every trip: “I don’t accumulate clue of breadth for activity to the abundance to aces up Scout items, alike if it’s the alone affair I’m activity to the abundance for.” That’s apparently a acceptable call.And finally, amuse bethink to heed the admonition of Ann O.: “Check with your tax actuality on what you can deduct. It wasn’t as aboveboard as I thought, and the rules assume to change.”
Want alike added tips? Find them in the comments area below, and amuse allotment your own.
Oh, and acceptable luck!
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