As lawyers, you might encounter people who really need your help, but unfortunately they can’t afford it. If you are one of those good samaritans that decides to offer Pro bono services you may be wondering if any of that time and cost invested has any benefit for you or your law firm.
It is really important to first understand that you can not consider your time and labor pro bono as a “charitable contribution”. This time must be considered as “Volunteers hours”. Which means that your time is not going to be Tax deductible. However, you can take advantage of some tax deduction from qualifying costs related to the pro bono case.
You need to keep in mind that the qualifying tax deductible expenses must meet two requirements stipulated by the IRS:
They must be incurred as a requirement to perform the service for the organization, and
They must primarily benefit the charity and not the taxpayer
Make sure you keep records of what you spent as Non-Reimbursable Client Costs such as office supplies, filing fees, postage, voice and data communication. You can also take into consideration your travel expenses to and from pro bono activities like ground transportation and if you're gone overnight, meals and lodging as long as the trip doesn’t involve any personal pleasure element.
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