Is Charitable Dental Care Deductible?

Several dentists
have asked us about what deductions may be eligible for the volunteer dental
work they do for the community. We looked at a few scenarios and have come up
with some guidance.
A charitable deduction
is not allowed for contributing services (time) for dentist (or anyone else)
but they can deduct unreimbursed out-of pocket expenses that they incur when
they render services to a (qualified) charitable organization.
Examples of
deductible expenses include the cost of uniforms that are required to be worn
while performing the donated services (clothing that is not suitable for
everyday use), and supplies used in performing the donated services.
 Other examples include equipment, copying charges, office supplies, long
distance charges, and postage.
A dentist can
also deduct “reasonable” expenses meals and lodging while they are away from
home. “Away from home” for purposes of charity is the same as “away from home”
for business. In other words, the trip has to require the taxpayer to sleep or
rest outside of their home in order to continue to do the charitable work. The
cost of child care that someone incurs while providing the charitable services
can’t be deducted even if the person can’t do the volunteer work without paying
the child care expense.
The expenses have
to be non-personal (i.e. no pleasure trips, entertainment costs etc.) and
directly connected to performing the services for the charity. If they are
primarily for the benefit of the taxpayer they are not deductible. The
unreimbursed expenses are treated as being paid directly to the charity.
For auto expense
a dentist can deduct 14 cents per charitable mile or actual expenses (gas and
oil directly related to the use of your car for volunteer activities) but you can’t
deduct general expenses such as depreciation, lease payments, license and
registration or insurance. Parking and tolls directly related to the charitable
work can be deducted whether you use the mileage or actual expense method.
Treat this advice
as general guidelines and consult you CPA for specific guidance related to your
particular situation.
Lance Jacob, EA, is a
principal with the Dental CPAs. (410) 453-5500. The Dental CPAs have been providing
accounting, tax planning, practice purchase assistance, bookkeeping, practice
management services and other advice to the dental community for over 50 years.

For more information, please contact