Charity mows - how does that work on taxes?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Precision Lawns, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. Precision Lawns

    Precision Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    We mow for a couple where the husband has cancer and they're living off of disability - barely scraping by. We mow them for free every week, since they don't have a huge lawn and they're on our route. Does this count as a charitable donation for tax purposes? How does that work - do we simply deduct the amount we WOULD have charged them for their lawn each week, if they were paying customers?
  2. pagefault

    pagefault LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    I believe that the work has to be done for a qualifying non-profit organization, otherwise I would write off every favor I do for anyone. Also, if the donation is over a certain value, you need a receipt. This year, you might talk to one of the local churches and see if you can do the same work through one of their programs, so that it qualifies.

    I'd double-check with an accountant. I set aside a couple hundred bucks for my attorney and my accountant each month, so that I can go over things like this. As the business matures, I may be able to drop that down to every quarter or every 6 months. Either way, it is money well spent.
  3. Precision Lawns

    Precision Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    hmmm...oh well, a good deed is a good deed. I thought I remembered reading a thread on here a while back about deducting charity mows on taxes, but I can't find it when I do a search. Maybe I imagined it.

    Just trying to find any and every way it can look like we made no money this year!
  4. The Captain

    The Captain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    I mow (for free) our church lawns and garden areas. From what my CPA tells me at tax time there is no deduction. If you charge and are paid, you have income which is taxed. If you then donate this income (after tax) to a charity, then that donation amount is deductable. I guess in short, no income no deduction. Too confusing for me. I just do what I can to help out whether for the church or for a neighbor in need. I am just greatfull I have the means to do so.

  5. pagefault

    pagefault LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    A good deed is a good deed, but if you did it through the church you could write it off and you might get more word of mouth business out of it.

    Like I said, I'd double check with and accountant before I gave up.
  6. pagefault

    pagefault LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    It looks like you are correct. "Value of your time or services" cannot be deducted, according to the IRS:
  7. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

    Hi Precision Lawns,

    If you are interested, ask our CPA this question by filling out our new Ask The CPA form located here and get a response back from them.
  8. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,873

    However you should be able to deduct the mileage to and from the church. Every little bit helps.
  9. nriddle77

    nriddle77 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 271

    I'm in the same boat here. I mow a church and wanted to just donate my services. My CPA said it wouldn't work that way. Oh well, I guess I'll do it

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