Monday, July 14, 2008
Here is an idea the nonprofit should definitely support. The "Fair Deal for Volunteers Act" would allow the IRS to adjust the mileage rate that volunteers use in computing their charitable contribution deduction from the use of their POV to provide voluntary services to charitable organizations. According to a press release issued by the Senate sponsors, "[the Bill] would provide the IRS with flexibility in setting the mileage rate deduction for volunteers. Currently, the IRS is able to increase the deduction amount for medical and moving expenses to reflect current economic conditions because the rate is not written into the law. By allowing the IRS flexibility in setting the mileage rate for charitable work, volunteers and organizations could be allowed the same tax benefit as those who take deductions for moving and medical expenses. In today’s climate of increasing food and fuel prices, this bill will help relieve some of the pressure felt by charitable organizations and their volunteers."
The actual text of the bill is not yet available but the Baltimore Sun has an informative report on the effect of gas prices on the willingness of volunteers to assist organizations such as Meals on Wheels. For a list of other news reports regarding the impact of gas prices on volunteer willingness see the Meals on Wheels bibliography, which includes a CBS News video report that describes the potentially devastating effect of the current deduction limitation on senior citizens who rely on volunteer home visits.