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Volunteer Mileage Reimbursement Flash Poll Results

by Sarah Skillin Woodard

Thank you to those who responded to our Flash Poll of April 23rd. We learned that 28.5% of respondents reimburse their volunteers and 64.2 did not. (The remainder did not reply yes or no.)

Background

Volunteers who drive their vehicles when they perform work on behalf of a nonprofit are restricted in tax law to deducting only 14 cents per mile, a rate that is set in statute and has not been changed in years. Volunteers who are reimbursed by the charity for the miles they drive must pay income taxes on any amount in excess of 14 cents per mile. Congress should eliminate the distinction between the Standard Business Mileage Rate and the substandard Charitable Mileage Rate so there is one rate, set the same way (flexibly by the IRS) and treated the same way.

Why It Matters

America’s volunteers deserve to be able to claim the same mileage rate as business and federal employees who work for wages. Increased transportation and energy costs have caused many individuals to stop donating their time and talent to helping others. The current unfair mileage rate restriction puts at risk many Americans, particularly those in rural areas who are served by volunteers: individuals who depend on getting Meals-on-Wheels dinners delivered, disabled veterans who depend on volunteers to drive them to doctors, and homebound seniors who depend on volunteers to deliver prescriptions – all because volunteers can no longer afford to help. the difference between the charitable mileage rate and the standard business rate will allow volunteers to defray one of the largest costs associated with volunteering.

Status

The standard business mileage rate for the year is 54.5 cents per mile. The volunteer rate remains at 14 cent-per-mile because it is set as a fixed rate in statute that has not been updated in decades. A bill introduced in Congress in March of 2013 sought to raise to the volunteer mileage rate to the business rate. That bill was not enacted.

What Nonprofits Can Do

Contact your Representatives and Senators and tell them to make it easier for individuals to volunteer by raising the charitable mileage rate.

Congress:

District One – Jared Golden

District Two – Chellie Pingree

Senate:

Susan Collins

Angus King

 

Source: National Council of Nonprofits

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