The Boy Scouts of America is an organization for young men that is designed to teach them about respect, duty and service. Most adult leaders involved with the Boy Scouts of America are volunteers. Thanks to their volunteer status, adults who assist in Boy Scouts can write off some of the expenses they incur when they file their federal income tax returns.
Scout leaders may count their out-of-pocket expenses that result from their volunteer work as charitable contributions. If the items leaders provide are reimbursed by the local scout council or another group, scout leaders cannot deduct the value of the items from their taxable income. For example, a leader who buys scout books for his troops may deduct the amount he paid for the books only if he does not receive compensation for his purchase.
Scout leaders often drive Boy Scouts to campgrounds, jamborees, service project areas and other locations. Leaders may deduct the cost of plane tickets, hotel rooms and taxi fare if they incur these expenses on scout trips. These expenses are only deductible as long as there is not a significant element of personal recreation or vacation in the trip. This means that if a leader spends only a portion of his trip with the scouts, he cannot deduct expenses unrelated to the scouting activities.
Leaders may deduct the mileage they accrue on scout trips. A leader can choose to itemize the deductions from the trip and deduct expenses such as gas prices, parking fees and toll charges. He instead may choose to take the standard deduction for his trips at 12 cents per mile. When a leader claims the standard mileage deduction, he may not itemize his expenses. Scout leaders should document the costs and mileage accrued on these trips.
Services Not Deductible
A scout leader who provides his time and services to the Boy Scouts of America cannot deduct the value of his time from his taxes. For example, a leader who is a doctor cannot deduct the value of the time he spends training scouts to administer first aid. Financial contributors to the Boy Scouts may deduct expenses that are up to 50 percent of their adjusted gross income for the tax year.