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Tax questions


Members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants are answering readers' tax questions through April 15.

Q. I have heard that in Maryland, hours spent in volunteer work may be tax deductible. Is this true?

A. No. Labor is generally not deductible; however, money, property and unreimbursed expenses directly related to the volunteer work performed generally are deductible. You are permitted an automobile allowance of 12 cents per mile on your federal return if you itemize and a 31 cents per mile on your Maryland state return for travel to and from volunteer activities. In order to take the allowance, the qualified organization for which you volunteer must have a principal purpose or function to provide medical, health or nutrition care. Volunteer firefighters may deduct the automobile allowance for travel to and from the fire station at which they volunteer.

Q. I donated a car to the American Cancer Society, which gave me an estimate of its value. Is the whole amount deductible?

A: Yes, generally you are allowed a charitable deduction for a contribution of property at the fair market value at the date of of the donation. If the automobile has a value of more than $5,000, then you must get an appraisal from a qualified appraiser to substantiate the deduction.

The above advice is for general purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting or tax advice. Specific situations may vary.

To ask a tax question, call Sundial at (410) 783-1800. Call 268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 836-5028 in Harford County and 848-0338 in Carroll County. Using a Touch-Tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6225 after you hear the greeting.

Readers also can e-mail questions through The Sun's Website -- Visitors to the Website will be able to access an archive of the questions and answers as well as other useful tax information and links.

Selected questions will be answered in the Business section. No questions will be answered by phone.

Pub Date: 2/08/97

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