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Question for you tax experts - reimburse gas money or go for the tax deduction

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It seems that most folks in the troop let the troop pay for their gas money.

 

I'm wondering which makes better sense

 

to do that - let the troop pay for the gas

or

just buy the gas myself and submit the miles for a write off

or

submit for a reimbursement based on miles (used to be $0.29/ mile reimbursement, I believe the last time I knew about that stuff)

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I don't know what makes sense or not.  But I just write the volunteer mileage off.  Keeping track of it for a year can be tough, but it really adds up. 

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Not a tax expert ...

 

FYI - charitable mileage may only deduct the cost of fuel (the IRS publishes the rate annually, 18 cents/mile was last year's, I think).

The value of your write-off is dependent on your tax bracket. Higher income? The more it's worth writing off.

Needless to say, the fuel efficiency of your vehicle comes into play. If you were by some miracle consuming 2 cents/mile and you were in a 20% tax bracket, the write-off would be more valuable than your reimbursement ... unless you have no scruples and will still submit for reimbursement to the tune of 29 cents/mile!

 

Of course time is money. And you might earn those $ in the time you spend chasing receipts.

 

So, as with most advice: your mileage may vary. :blink:

Edited by qwazse

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I think Qwazse is right about the tax implications. I wouldn't worry about paying for it myself if the trip is less than, say, 100 miles. However for the big trips, the cost needs to be included in the budget.

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probably on the order of 1,200 miles round trip

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The current charitable mileage write off rate is 14 cents per mile so a 1,200 mile trip will get you a write off of $168.  Don't know what kind of mileage you get but lets assume 25 miles to the gallon - 1200/25 = 48 gallons used.  Let's assume $2.50 a gallon x 48 = $120.

 

Choice is yours

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Standard mileage rate for charity has been 14 cents/mile since 1998. It would be up to the unit whether they wanted to reimburse cents per mile, or submit gas receipts. What you claim for tax purposes is between you and the IRS. And don't forget the 14 cents is a tax "deduction" not a tax credit, so the value of the deduction depends on your taxable income. For those like us older folks who are nearing "standard deduction" territory, the 14 cents per mile deduction is worthless and it would be better to be reimbursed for gas directly.

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The current charitable mileage write off rate is 14 cents per mile so a 1,200 mile trip will get you a write off of $168.  Don't know what kind of mileage you get but lets assume 25 miles to the gallon - 1200/25 = 48 gallons used.  Let's assume $2.50 a gallon x 48 = $120.

 

Choice is yours

 

 

Correct. But the benefit of the $168 write off depends on your tax bracket.  If you are in the 25% tax bracket, it would be worth $42.  As a result, the decision doesn't rest on the benefit of being reimbursed vs. taking a tax deduction -- you will almost always be worse off while taking a tax deduction (the break even point is getting 75 miles per gallon with 2.50 a gallon gas at a 25% tax rate).

 

The decision is whether you want to increase the costs of the trip to include the cost of gas or if you think the adults are comfortable donating the costs for gas.

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My old troop did little right except directly reimburse whoever pulled the trailer and parents always gave their sccouts money to hand their driver. I usually had to refuse a portion of that contribution becuase if I was driving more than 2 other Scouts it didn't seem right to come out ahead.

 

If you are trying to come up with a troop policy. Not everyone itemizes and can write it off.

Edited by King Ding Dong

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When you consider ALL of the expenses of operating a vehicle (gas, oil, tires, depreciation, insurance, licensing) you will NEVER come out ahead.  I always preferred to drive my own vehicle, because with elderly parents (at the time), I never knew when I would get the "phone call" and have to drop everything and go home.  So I figured that was my choice, and didn't charge for gas for the passengers who wanted to ride with me.

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As SM I generally drive, I sometimes pull the trailer (when we had one) and collected $$ from the boys for gas.  The gas amount was an estimate.  If I came up short, I told myself to figure the mileage better next time and if the $$ was over what I spent, it went into the troop funds.

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It seems that most folks in the troop let the troop pay for their gas money.

 

I'm wondering which makes better sense

 

to do that - let the troop pay for the gas

or

just buy the gas myself and submit the miles for a write off

or

submit for a reimbursement based on miles (used to be $0.29/ mile reimbursement, I believe the last time I knew about that stuff)

 

It depends on what you want.  I doubt that the troop would allow the last one--it would probably be the best for your wallet. I know ours only does the first or the second (depending on your choice). 

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Yah, hmmm....

 

Not sure, eh?  Depends on what your version of "better sense" is. ;)

 

It seems that most folks in the troop let the troop pay for their gas money.

 

This is somewhat common in troops, eh?  Splits the cost among kids more fairly, because no matter what da troop there are always folks who do a lot more driving than other folks.   The boys just have to build it in to trip budgets somehow (or bring cash).

 

In terms of your own pocketbook, this is likely da best choice.

 

just buy the gas myself and submit the miles for a write off

 

I mostly do this just because I hate dealin' with receipts (and I get out with different units). 

 

It makes budgeting for trips easier for the boys and amounts to a donation by da drivers, and there are a fair number of troops that operate this way.  It can mess a unit up if someone who was doin' a lot of driving stops and da new folks want reimbursements. Suddenly all da budgets are off.  Also can be hard when gas prices soar.  A bit more common in da middle class/upper middle class troops.

 

A lot depends on your tax situation, but in terms of personal pocketbook, this will never be more than a fraction of your actual costs.

 

submit for a reimbursement based on miles (used to be $0.29/ mile reimbursement, I believe the last time I knew about that stuff)

 

Yah, some troops do this as well, eh?  I'd say fewer.  It's up to da troop.  I don't know any troops that are doin' the full federal business miles rate (currently $0.54/mi).   Sometimes yeh see da charitable rate ($0.14/mi), sometimes somethin' in between.

 

Personally I like this for units, eh?  Yeh don't have to bog da treasurer down in receipt tracking, yeh just get a list of da drivers and use Google maps for da mileage.   It makes budgeting for the boys straightforward.

 

On da personal pocketbook side, this comes out pretty close to Option #1, dependin' on what amount da troop is reimbursing.

 

No matter what, in all three of your options you're still askin' drivers to foot da cost of depreciation, maintentance, insurance, etc.

 

Beavah

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I've been in troops that do both.  My experience is you prefer what you first learned.  Except long haul adventures, I prefer drivers pay their own.  Then if you want to drive or not is your choice.  Which car you drive is your choice.  I've had adults that ride with me hand me some dollars to cover some cost.  Others don't.

 

I've seen the reverse where people try to coordinate drivers and then people who don't camp as much don't know the car planning game and throw a monkey wrench into the list of cars and how it's all planned and paid.  

 

In our troop, if it's less than 100 miles each way it's not budgeted or reimbursed ... except the guy pulling the trailer who gets a nominal recognition through reimbursement.  Not actual cost.

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$0.14 per mile, 50% "bonus" if you're the bloke haulin' the trailer..   Got sick of chasing after people for receipts.

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