Does anyone mow their church's lawn?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by white stone lawn care, May 17, 2010.

  1. white stone lawn care

    white stone lawn care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I currently mow my church's lawn for free. I was wondering if this is a tax deduction or not. I've talked with two different accountants and one said it's fully deductible(the amount that I would normally charge) and the other said you can't deduct your labor that is donated to a charity. Anyone have any experience with this?
  2. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,645

    i know cemetries are tax free thats it.
  3. hamiltonlawncare

    hamiltonlawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27


    I cut it charge 'em get paid and "tithe" it back get the tax deduction
  4. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    it gets trickey,

    in fact both are right, " from my experance "

    No granted were in diffrent parts of the country,

    if your doing it as a donation then it's FREE. as you know Churches are non taxable.
    all of your fuel and such can NOT be deducted. But come on how much do you really use ?

    If in fact your church has " and forgive me I forget what the code is "
    then it's a donation that's deductable.
    HOWEVER: and this is were it gets tricky, you may deduct your expences. NOT WHAT YOU WOULD REGULARY CHARGE.

    If it cost you " Out of pocket" 50.00 that's your deduction. and again I forget what the form # is. but you will get it and they will sgin off on it.

    sometimes it's better to ask to put a sgin in the yard and do it for free.
    it becomes a PITA.

    Best of luck
  5. mark123

    mark123 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 486

    Perhaps they can write you a receipt for the value of the service but that's a bit sketchy.

    What I do is I charge my church (no sales tax) a little less than it's really worth and then I tithe 10% back to them. That way there is no question as to what I gave and what I charge. I suppose the best plan would be to charge them full price and then write a check for the same amount back to them. No questions and a paper trail.
  6. mark123

    mark123 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 486

    Are you thinking of "501(c)(3) Non-profit organization"?
  7. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    You may give churches items and it's tax deductable. You may give them money and it's tax deductable. You may not give them your own services and then deduct the value of those services. If you have a CPA that isn't aware of this then you need a new CPA.
  8. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,472

    yes you can cut your church for free and write it off! just ask for a receipt much like a tithe report. Its like giving to charitable organizations like the cancer fund. I provided a salt application for free to a Church and wrote the application off at the end of the year. Perfectly ligit
  9. jrush

    jrush LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    I'm not perfect, and I don't go to confession, so I do the maintenance at the church for free, I'm hoping it pays off in the end.
  10. CincyWolf

    CincyWolf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    If you want to do it for free and also get a deduction, the best approach is to charge them a legitimate rate, get paid and then donate it all back to the church.
    1) This is legitimate from a tax standpoint but remember you are just getting the tax bracket donation back, not the full amount you charge them.
    2) They are paying for the service and that is best for all parties considered because it keeps things on a professional level vs. a volunteer level.
    3) If something happens to you they still have this in their budget. They may come up short on the income side because you aren't donating it all back but at least they have a budget line item for lawn maintenance

    Lastly, I've known people that are reluctant to file non-monetary donations to a church or to ask for documentation. They think it is somehow wrong to donate and file it on taxes. Silent auctions, pie auctions, garage sales, etc are all legitimate donations. There is nothing "wrong" with asking for a receipt for those items. It isn't like it hurts the church when you get get to take a contribution credit on your taxes.
    Last edited: May 17, 2010

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