501c3 APPROVAL GRANTED!!

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Re: 501c3 APPROVAL GRANTED!!

Postby admin on Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:55 pm

[quote="JSumeracki"]Okay, on every website related to charitable flying in the world, I find the same generic tap-dance answers to this issue... Why won't anyone answer this question straight up?"

I don't think people are trying to avoid your question, I for one just don't have an informative answer. You don't have to have an aviation accountant, your own accountant should be able to answer these questions for you according to charitable donation laws. Whatever is allowed as a donation I would guess would apply? I don't see why a plane as a mode of transport would be any different then what is allowed as a charitable donation for a van, a bus, a car, any means of transport but I am not going to tell you that as a fact. The FAA considers PNP flights as Humanitarian and as a charitable donation. The best advise from here is to ask your accountant, they really should know.

Perhaps another pilot will share with you what they have claimed. Even at that, your tax situation may not be the same so again, accountants need to advise you. I have been told that 100% of the rental for a plane can be claimed. Other then that, I really do not know, sorry!

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Re: 501c3 APPROVAL GRANTED!!

Postby Steve Foley on Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:18 pm

This is analogous to the automobile expenses in IRS publication 526

Car expenses. You can deduct unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses, such as the cost of gas and oil, that are directly related to the use of your car in giving services to a charitable organization. You cannot deduct general repair and maintenance expenses, depreciation, registration fees, or the costs of tires or insurance.

If you do not want to deduct your actual expenses, you can use a standard mileage rate of 14 cents a mile to figure your contribution.

You can deduct parking fees and tolls, whether you use your actual expenses or the standard mileage rate.

You must keep reliable written records of your car expenses. For more information, see Car expenses under Records To Keep, later.


Where the government allows something like $0.50/mile for business use of a vehicle, they only allow $0.14 for charitable contributions. They pretty much allow only direct out of pocket expenses. In the case of your own aircraft, the only direct out of pocket expenses are fuel and oil, landing fees, parking fees, etc, that are directly related to the flight made.

In the case of a rented aircraft, the entire rental charge is directly attributable to the flight, and is probably deductible.
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Re: 501c3 APPROVAL GRANTED!!

Postby JSumeracki on Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:23 pm

I'm sure it has to do something with the $150 - $200 per hour that a plane legitimetly costs per hour, resulting in single deductions that are several hundred dollars each. Its easy to become scared of the IRS if you are claiming many flights per year because they might target you for audit. As for deductibility, its either all or nothing, and whether or not it exceeds 7% of AGI and all that, sure, I understand that any given person needs a certain number of deductions to meet requirements based on their own income, etc.

Where I'm going is some pilots tell me they deduct an hourly rate that includes their entire operating costs plus fixed costs, which would be near (or higher) than rental costs. I have had other pilots tell me they only deduct fuel, which seems rediculous to me because there's far more to the cost of flying than just the fuel.

Seems to me like there should be a firm ruling on this somewhere and that I should not have to consult with my local CPA because they don't know FAA regulations, they know tax law. I need to be able to point to a document that clears this up, hand it to them, then start submitting the proof for basis of my claims.

So if I rent an aircraft, I can claim $200 per hour, if I own an aircraft, I can only claim $60 per hour. Sorry, still don't buy that. By the way, I have read on more than one website that aircraft reimbursement rates per mile are higher than cars for those companies that reimburse for business use of a personal aircraft.

Hence the desire to see a ruling SPECIFIC to use of private aircraft for charitable flights. Everyone doing their own thing and guessing and having their CPA's sign off on something they are not experts on cannot possibly be the answer.
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Re: 501c3 APPROVAL GRANTED!!

Postby Debi on Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:15 am

I wish I had a more definitive answer for you but I do not. Perhaps writing a letter to the FAA and asking would give you the answers you are seeking? We applied for and received the 501c3 status in order to give something back to the generous pilots who volunteer. How this translates to what you can claim has not been defined for us.

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Re: 501c3 APPROVAL GRANTED!!

Postby JSumeracki on Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:56 pm

Pilots N Paws is very fortunate to have the 501(c)(3) status and thank you for going the extra nautical mile... I will contact the FAA in addition to an aviation tax specialist in the near future.
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Re: 501c3 APPROVAL GRANTED!!

Postby Steve Foley on Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:54 pm

The only FAA ruling on this has to do with whether a tax deduction is considered compensation for part 91 purposes. The FAA has decided that a tax deduction for contributions made for humanitarian purposes is not. Whether the FAA distinguishes animal rescue from humanitarian purposes is anybody's guess. I can't point to a specific ruling because there isn't one.

What is deductible is determined by IRS rules, not FAA regulations. Publication 526, which I pointed out earlier, covers charitable deductions for individual taxpayers. Other rules apply to other entities (corporations, non-profit corporations, LLCs, LLPs, etc).

The specific language reads "Out of pocket expenses when you serve a qualified organization as a volunteer" are deductible.

Later in publication 526, automobile expenses are explained. It is specifically stated that repairs and maintenance of an automobile used in conjunction with volunteering for a qualified organization ARE NOT DEDUCTIBLE. There is no reason to believe that repairs and maintenance of aircraft would be deductible when repairs and maintenance of automobiles are not.

Since it's not always easy to measure fuel expenses made for an automobile trip, the IRS allows an estimation of $0.14 per mile. The IRS has made no such determination for aircraft use, so the only allowable deductions are for actual expenses.

If a volunteer is deducting fixed expenses, tie-down fees, repairs, maintenance, insurance, etc, he or she is risking incurring the wrath of the IRS, as those expenses are clearly not out of pocket expenses incurred in association with the volunteering.
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Re: 501c3 APPROVAL GRANTED!!

Postby admin on Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Steve, I totally concur with your statements. The FAA simply classifies your status, they do not set the tax laws the IRS does.

As always, your post makes perfect logical sense to me! I withdraw the suggestion to ask the FAA, they have given us all they can give at this point and it is GREATLY appreciated by all of us!

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Re: 501c3 APPROVAL GRANTED!!

Postby lab1 on Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:00 pm

grea job ! glad to hear it debi and john :)
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