CalNonprofits is notifying nonprofits of a little-known provision of the Obama Administration’s 2015 proposed budget: an increase in the rate at which volunteers can deduct the costs of mileage when they drive as part of their volunteer work. You can get more details here.
CalNonprofits is encouraging nonprofits statewide to send a letter or message to their Congressional Representatives. Here’s an easy way to get their contact information if you need it, and a sample letter is below.
CalNonprofits acknowledges that, while there are many issues in the budget that have higher impact than volunteer mileage reimbursement, it’s important for nonprofits to speak out on this issue to collectively raise the profile of volunteerism as an important economic and social force for communities.
I/we write this letter in support of the Volunteer Mileage Reimbursement Rate portion of the Administration’s 2015 budget proposal. As documented on page 272 of “General Explanations of the Administration’s 2015 Revenue Proposals,” it states:
“Under current law, taxpayers may deduct unreimbursed expenses directly related to the use of an automobile in giving services to a charitable organization. As an alternative to tracking actual expenses, taxpayers may use a standard mileage rate of 14 cents per mile. This rate is set by statute and is not indexed for inflation or otherwise adjusted overtime. . . . The proposal would set the standard mileage rate for the charitable contribution deduction equal to the rate set by the IRS for purposes of medical and moving expense deduction [23.5 cents per mile].”
We still believe that when taxpayers use their own cars as volunteers to drive patients to doctor appointments, deliver meals to the homebound, or to get to a Habitat for Humanity worksite, they should be able to deduct the same amount per mile that business owners can — which is currently 56 cents per mile. Nonetheless, an increase to 23.5 cents per mile is a helpful improvement from the extremely low and unfair rate of 14 cents per mile.
As was demonstrated in the recent economic impact study of California’s nonprofit sector — Causes Count — more than one in four Californians volunteer, and California volunteers do the equivalent work of 450,000 full-time workers. In nonprofits of all sizes, there are more volunteers than paid staff. In short, California nonprofits are not only major employers, they leverage the work of millions of volunteers in service of their communities. It makes no sense for a lawyer, for instance, to be able to deduct 56 cents per mile when she drives to see a client, but only 14 cents a mile when as a volunteer she drives to a school to talk about the Constitution to high school students.
We urge you to support the inclusion of this provision in the final bill that is passed.
Name, Title, Organization