December 15, 2008
TAX BENEFITS FOR WORK ON MUNICIPAL BOARD
By: Judith Lohman, Chief Analyst
You asked if there is a Connecticut or federal income tax credit or any other state or federal income tax benefit for work on a municipal board or commission.
As you know, the Office of Legislative Research is not authorized to give legal opinions and this report should not be considered one.
There is no Connecticut or federal income tax credit or other tax benefit for work on a municipal board or commission.
Federal income tax law (IRC § 170) allows taxpayers who itemize deductions on their federal income tax returns to deduct charitable contributions, including certain uncompensated, out-of-pocket expenses incurred in performing volunteer work for a qualifying charity. Under the federal tax code, contributions to a state political subdivision, such as a municipality, are considered charitable contributions, if they are made solely for a public purpose. But the value of a person's time or volunteer services is not deductible as a charitable contribution.
A person who serves as a volunteer on a municipal board or commission can deduct unreimbursed expenses directly related to his services, such as travel, meals, and lodging. A person deducting car-related expenses must keep reliable written records of the expenses and the circumstances. Additional information about qualifying charitable deductions may be found in IRS Publication 526 (2007), Charitable Contributions.
Because Connecticut's income tax is based on federal adjusted gross income (that is, income before deductions), any federal tax deduction for expenses related to service on a municipal board or commission has no affect a taxpayer's state income tax liability.