Submitted By: Alice
Answered: January 15, 2016 10:17 am

I volunteer in a class for autistic children and provide supplies. Can I deduct them?

Because you are a volunteer and not a paid educator who works at least 900 hours a year, you cannot use the above-the-line deduction of up to $250 from gross income (allowed even if you don’t itemize, assuming this break is extended for 2015). However, if you donate the supplies to the school and do not restrict their use, you can take a charitable contribution deduction for your out-of-pocket costs. To do this, you must (1) itemize your deductions, and (2) have obtained the required substantiation for these costs (including an acknowledgment from the school if the cost is $250 or more).

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Tax Glossary

Private letter ruling

A written determination issued to a taxpayer by the IRS that interprets and applies the tax laws to the taxpayer’s specific set of facts. A letter ruling advises the taxpayer regarding the tax treatment that can be expected from the IRS in the circumstances specified by the ruling. It may not be used or cited as precedent by another taxpayer.

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