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I think all of us would groan at the thought of keeping up with one more thing. Isn’t that the story inside the whirlwind of life. However, keeping track of the little things you do for and with the Royal Rangers or any ministry can save you big bucks. If all of the little things (drinks and snacks for the Wednesday night meeting, driving Rangers to and from, driving to Ranger events, training, or Pow Wow) added up to $5,000 and you were paying 20% in taxes then you just lost $1,000 dollars. If you think that seems unlikely, $20 a week is $1,040. Now add training, travel and a missions trip and you’re there. In order to properly account for all of your deductions you must keep good records. Here are two helpful hints. One, use your phone. Today’s phones have an assortment of helpful tools. Take pictures of receipts, donated items, tickets, etc… Two, “Expensify”. Expensify is an app that helps you keep track of expenses. It has a very seamless integration with your phone which can calculate mileage, itemize receipts, and produce printable reports.
Our guest for this show is a licensed expert in the vocation of tax preparation, but everyone’s situation is different. Please, seek the advice of a tax pro to get each deduction handled properly. If you are interested in contacting our guest you can find his firm’s information at www.rscpa.net.
Mileage. All mileage associated with Rangers or any church function where you are donating your time is deductible. For a Ranger commander that can include: mileage to church on meeting night and mileage to events and training. Note -you cannot deduct both mileage and fuel. It is one or the other and mileage is the way to go.
Donations. Cash and items donated to the church and Outpost are deductible. Cash is the obvious one and the church will most likely give you a receipt or a report at the end of the year. Items are deductible and the amount of the deduction is the current allowable value. The IRS does have a table for item values but you can justify the value if you can show other items that have been sold for a similar value. For example, if you donated a treadmill and you found three closed auctions on Ebay with a sold price of $150 then that could be used to justify the value. Here is the caveat. If you donate a car and the Kelly Blue Book value is $5,000 but the church sells it for $3,000 then your deduction is only $3,000. If the church gives it to a pastor to drive then it would be valued at $5,000.
Travel. Most travel expenses are allowed. One exception would be if a commander’s wife traveled with him to a training event her travel expenses would not be deductible.
Training. All of your training expenses are deductible. Even though you are a lay leader and not employed by the Outpost you can still deduct the expenses associated with all of your training. You might even be thinking that your Outpost doesn’t require training. It doesn’t matter. Your dedication to excel at your position is of great value and you can keep track of those associated expenses and apply them to your return.
This is not an us versus them. In other words, it’s not us versus Uncle Sam. The tax codes are complicated and have many lawful deductions that you should use to your advantage. God has called you into this ministry.the boots on You are the ground that can see how every dollar is used within the ministry. Being a good steward of that means understanding where you can recover dollars that Uncle Sam doesn’t need.