An animal-rescue volunteer has won a case in the U.S. Tax Court that enables other volunteers to take charitable deductions for their efforts, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Jan Van Dusen, a volunteer at the nonprofit Fix Our Ferals, incurred $12,068 caring for 70 stray cats and tried to deduct the expenses on her 2004 tax return. Among the expenses she wrote off were cat food, veterinarian bills, litter, paper towels, garbage bags, and a portion of utility bills.
But the IRS said they were personal expenses and therefore not eligible for a tax break. Ms. Van Dusen, a former lawyer, sued, representing herself. In 2009 the case landed in the Tax Court.
Judge Richard Morrison ultimately ruled that Ms. Van Dusen’s bills were ones incurred in helping a charity and therefore eligible to be deducted. The amount she will be able to claim has not been determined yet.
Jonathan Lovvorn, chief counsel for the Humane Society of the United States, said, the decision was important because “this is the first time the court has addressed these expenses.”