June 9, 2008 12:00 am

Three Travel Plans That Are Tax Deductible

As you make your vacation plans for the summer, you might want to keep in mind some options that allow you to transform nondeductible personal expenses of the trip into a partially deductible expense. Three possibilities include volunteering, taking education courses, and combining business travel with pleasure.

Charitable activities

If you want to do some good during the time you have off this summer, there are a variety of nonprofit organizations that would welcome your volunteering. TransitionsAbroad.com is a portal to finding volunteer work and vacations around the world. Here you can select the location you wish to visit and then find dozens of organizations with programs to serve.

You can deduct your out-of-pocket costs for volunteering as long as you can show that there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation involved. The fact that you volunteer in an exotic location does not automatically mean you can’t deduct your expenses.

Travel expenses include the fees to the organization, airfare, lodging, and meals. If you volunteer in the United States and you drive, you can deduct your car mileage at the rate of 14

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Tax Glossary

Home equity debt

Debt secured by a principal residence or second home to the extent of the excess of fair market value over acquisition debt. An interest deduction is generally allowed for home equity debt up to $100,000 ($50,000 if married filing separately).

More terms