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Volunteers play a critical role in helping charitable organizations nationwide serve their communities. Unfortunately, volunteering was severely disrupted by the pandemic, leaving many charities without an essential force multiplier at a time when they could least afford it.
As a home for nonprofits, foundations, and corporate allies engaged in every kind of charitable endeavor, Independent Sector is proud to advance the work of volunteers across the country. This includes our annual release of thevalue of volunteer time, a study that helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations frequently use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide.
What’s at Risk?
Volunteers are the lifeblood of nonprofits. They provide proactive leadership, deliver essential services, and expand the impact of nonprofit missions, but federal investment in volunteerism is nearly nonexistent. Independent Sector calls for $250 million in federal funding to:
Support the creation and launch of a nationally scaled digital platform to connect, mobilize, and support volunteer networks across the nation, particularly those in long-underserved communities, and;
To build the internal capacity of nonprofit organizations to effectively develop and engage volunteers.
Volunteer Mileage Reimbursement
Current law allows charities to reimburse volunteers, on a nontaxable basis only, up to the charitable mileage rate of 14 cents per mile. Alternatively, volunteers are permitted to deduct their “out of pocket” expenses incurred in providing donated services — when those expenses are not reimbursed.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the authority to regulate mileage rates for business and medical/moving purposes, but not for charitable activities. The charitable rate can only be adjusted through the legislative process and has remained unchanged since 1997.
Independent Sector supports legislative proposals like the Volunteer Driver Tax Appreciation Act (H.R. 3032 in the 118th Congress). This bill would increase the federal tax deduction mileage rate for volunteer drivers from its current rate, 14 cents per mile, to be equal to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) business rate, currently set at 65.5 cents per mile, provided that the volunteer is transporting people or property on behalf of a charity.