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Charitable Travel Contributions to the ACA
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This page is for ACA members who have acted in a volunteer capacity on behalf of the ACA at competition, education, and stewardship events. In order to receive a letter from the ACA acknowledging your contribution, your related expenses must meet the criteria in the IRS document, "Publication 526 (2017), Charitable Contributions" summarized below and you must not have received financial reimbursement from the ACA for the travel expenses.



Travel. Generally, you can claim a charitable contribution deduction for travel expenses necessarily incurred while you are away from home performing services for a charitable organization only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel. This applies whether you pay the expenses directly or indirectly. You are paying the expenses indirectly if you make a payment to the charitable organization and the organization pays for your travel expenses.

The deduction for travel expenses won't be denied simply because you enjoy providing services to the charitable organization. Even if you enjoy the trip, you can take a charitable contribution deduction for your travel expenses if you are on duty in a genuine and substantial sense throughout the trip. However, if you have only nominal duties, or if for significant parts of the trip you don't have any duties, you can't de-duct your travel expenses.


Example 1. You are a troop leader for a tax-exempt youth group and you take the group on a camping trip. You are responsible for over-seeing the setup of the camp and for providing adult supervision for other activities during the entire trip. You participate in the activities of the group and enjoy your time with them. You over-see the breaking of camp and you transport the group home. You can deduct your travel expenses.


Example 2. You sail from one island to an-other and spend 8 hours a day counting whales and other forms of marine life. The project is sponsored by a charitable organization. In most circumstances, you can't deduct your expenses.


Example 3. You work for several hours each morning on an archeological dig sponsored by a charitable organization. The rest of the day is free for recreation and sightseeing. You can't take a charitable contribution deduction even though you work very hard during those few hours.


Example 4. You spend the entire day at-tending a charitable organization's regional meeting as a chosen representative. In the evening you go to the theater. You can claim your travel expenses as charitable contributions, but you can't claim the cost of your evening at the theater.


Daily allowance (per diem). If you provide services for a charitable organization and receive a daily allowance to cover reasonable travel expenses, including meals and lodging while away from home overnight, you must include in income any part of the allowance that is more than your deductible travel expenses. You may be able to deduct any necessary travel expenses that are more than the allowance.


Deductible travel expenses. These include:


Air, rail, and bus transportation;


Out-of-pocket expenses for your car;


Taxi fares or other costs of transportation between the airport or station and your ho-tel;


Lodging costs; and


The cost of meals.


Because these travel expenses aren't business-related, they aren't subject to the same limits as business-related expenses. For information on business travel expenses, see Travel in Pub. 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses


ACA Mission

Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling, stewardship support to help protect paddling environments, and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration, and recreation.

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