Charities on Wheels Want Congress to Help Ease Gas Pain


Are gas prices driving volunteers away? Some charities say yes, and they want Congress to help. US corporate drivers get a tax deduction of 58.5 cents per gallon, while those driving their cars for charity only deduct 14 cents. When charities pay volunteers the corporate rate, the altruistic drivers must declare the reimbursement as taxable income. If all that doesn't sound right to you, 100 charities and four senators agree.

Charities that rely on volunteer drivers, for example to take the elderly to medical appointments or the grocery store, cannot sustain high gas prices. So a group of 100 charities, like the American Red Cross and Catholic Charities, got together and wrote a letter to Congress to ask lawmakers to address the problem. Today, four senators announced their plan to raise the deduction to 70 percent of the corporate rate, and eliminate the tax on reimbursements above that rate. Since a $1,000 charitable donation is tax deductible for $1,000, it seems only fair that those donating their time and gas get a break, too.

Have you changed your charitable participation because of gas prices? Should charities get special consideration?

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