Scout STUFF Found on the Web
Hi Internet Scouters from Schenectady,
Here is our latest info of "Scout STUFF FOUND on the Web." I
"could" actually add MORE, however, the "Taxes &
Scouting" piece is quite long and very important. We will get out
another issue early next week. Have a GREAT WEEKEND, and if you EVER
come across a favorite Scouting Website or Scout Resource, send me a link and
I'll be more than happy to add it into a future edition.
Yours in Scouting Spirit,
This information is a couple of years old, but is still
Taxes and Scouting
Updated: 19 February 1997
Please note that although this was prepared
by a CPA and believed to be accurate for 1998 - You should check with
your own accountant or tax preparer for clarification. The Greater
New York Councils,
Boy Scouts of America shall not be responsible for the use of
any information provided here.
This paper describes what expenses it is believed a Scout leader
can and cannot deduct for tax purposes under the current (1996) U.S.
tax laws. These expenses can be deducted under Charitable Contributions
Schedule A, Form 1040.
The information contained here, although specifically
oriented to Scout leaders, also applies to work for other nonprofit charitable
organizations that are recognized by the U.S. government.
If you are a Scout leader, you are allowed a charitable tax
deduction for your non-reimbursed, out-of pocket expenses that are directly
connected with the performance of your services as a Scout leader.
There are a few exceptions to this general guideline that are
pointed out later. Also be aware that expenses that you pay for your
children or for other leaders are not deductible.
The miles driven for Scout events (Troop / Pack meetings,
committee meetings, campouts, service projects, training sessions etc.) can
be deducted. The cost for trips for obtaining materials, food, etc., for Scouting
events is also deductible.
A trip for performing your duties as a Scout leader can be combined
with another activity. However, you may only deduct that portion of
the trip that is related to Scouting. For example, if you drive six miles
to the Scout office to drop off paperwork and an extra two to visit
a friend, you may only deduct six of the eight miles.
Please also be aware that if the trip involves travel that you
would have had to do anyway, the extra portion is not deductible.
For example, assume your house is between where you work and where
your Scout meetings are held; if you take your uniform with you to
work in the morning and go directly from work to a Scout meeting in
the evening, then home afterward, you can only deduct the round-trip
mileage from your home and the Scout
meeting place, not the extra miles from work. If you went back to
work before going home, you could deduct the round trip from work.
The current rate for use of your vehicle is 12+ cents per
mile . (1998) Your records should
show the place, date, mileage, and activity. Odometer readings are
not required but can be recorded if you so choose.
If your actual expenses are more than 12+ cents per mile,
you may deduct the actual expenses for gas, oil, windshield washer fluid,
etc. Your records must show the actual amount spent.
You may also deduct parking fees and tolls paid for a Scout event
in addition to the 30 cents per mile or actual expenses.
The cost for repairs and general maintenance for your vehicle is
not deductible even if your vehicle was damaged while performing service
as a Scout leader.
You also cannot deduct any portion of the insurance, license fee or depreciation,
even if the vehicle is only used for Scout activities.
Travel expenses for Scout trips away from home may be
deducted if you are a leader supervising youth in a genuine and substantial
sense. This includes costs for train fare, bus fare, air fare, taxi fare, airport
shuttle, rental cars, etc.
The IRS rules say that such costs can be deducted as long as
"there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation,
or vacation in such travel."
The rules do not define what is a significant element. However,
their examples lead you to believe that you must be on duty at least
half the time.
If you are one of the adult leaders required by Scout rules for an
event, you are on duty for the entire event. If you are not one of
the required leaders but still perform as a leader for the majority of the
time of an event, you are also covered.
Having fun on a Scout trip does not disqualify you from deducting
the cost of the trip. What matters is that you must serve in a true
adult leadership capacity.
If you simply attend an event as an observer, or as a non-required
adult, and do not have a significant part in organization, program,
or responsibility for youth, your costs are not deductible.
If you combine a personal vacation with a Scout trip, where you are
not with the Scouts for a period of time before, after, or during
the main part of the trip, it is very likely that part or all of the costs
for the trip will not be allowed as a charitable deduction because you
were not serving as a leader during this time.
Reasonable costs for your meals are deductible if in connection
with a Scout trip away from home. This includes the cost of food for
campouts, restaurant meals, snacks, sodas, etc.
For meals to be deductible, the trip must include an overnight stay
away from home.
Please note that, unlike expenses for business meals, the cost for
meals at Scouting events away from home are 100% deductible for
Cost for meals for an activity that does not involve an overnight
stay is not deductible.
Pancake Breakfasts, etc.
The cost for pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, and
other such fund raisers can only be deducted if you purchase a
ticket as a donation and return the ticket for resale. If you
attend, and the cost is more than what a similar meal would cost
elsewhere, you can deduct the difference; otherwise, you cannot
Banquets, Dinners, etc.
The cost for recognition banquets, dinners, etc. are, in
general, not deductible. However, if the event is for fund raising,
the amount you pay above the normal cost for the meal is deductible.
Also, if a set percentage of the cost is allocated to a general fund
to support Scouting, or is allocated for other costs that are
deductible, this portion is deductible.
It is not unusual for a council to have a policy that a 10 to 15
percent surcharge be included in the cost of events, which supports
the general Scouting movement.
Ceremonies and Courts of Honor
The costs of items that you provide for ceremonies recognizing
Scouts and Scouters, such as Courts of Honor, is deductible. This
includes awards, decorations, candles, and other such items.
The cost you pay for a motel room, camping fee, or other
accommodation fee while serving as a leader on a Scout trip is deductible.
If you pay your yearly registration fee yourself, it is
deductible. If you have to pay a fee for fingerprinting or any other
similar service as part of your registration, this fee is also
Leaders fees for summer camp, camporees, jamborees, conclaves,
Philmont, Sea Base, Woodbadge, Scout conferences, basic leadership training,
etc. are deductible. Admission Fees
Your fees for admission to parks, museums, art galleries,
exhibitions, and other similar cultural / educational activities that you
visit as the leader of a Scouting event are deductible.
Your costs for athletic events, movies, and other forms of
entertainment are not deductible.
If you pay for underprivileged youth that have been selected by
your troop committee to attend these events, the costs you pay for
them are deductible.
Tips for Service
Tips you give to waiters, guides, porters, bus drivers,
bellboys, maids, and other service personnel while serving as a leader on a
Scout trip are deductible.
If you are an officially designated leader for an international
Scout trip, the costs for required travel documents, immunizations, entry
fees, exit fees, and other similar ancillary costs associated with the trip,
The cost for long-distance phone calls, cellular phone
calls, faxes, postage, printing, envelopes, thank-you notes, and other communications
expenses directly related to the performance of your duties as a
Scout leader are deductible.
You cannot deduct any portion of the base rate you pay for basic
telephone service, even if your phone is mostly used for Scout activities.
Your fees for showers, pool use, boat docking, and other
such facilities are deductible if they are part of a Scout event.
The cost of materials used in Scout activities (wood,
rope, leather, fuel, water filter elements, etc.) is deductible, as is the
transportation needed to purchase such items.
First Aid Supplies
The cost for First Aid supplies bought in preparation for
a Scout trip is deductible.
The cost for medical services and supplies you receive for an
injury that you suffer on a Scout trip is not deductible under charitable
contributions. This must go under normal medical expenses.
The cost for photographs, slides, video film, and audio
tapes that you use in the performance of your duties as a Scout leader
for the publicity and documentation of Scouting events is
deductible. This includes material bought for showing at Scout
meetings, poster displays, newspaper articles, etc
The cost for these same items is not deductible if bought for your
personal use and enjoyment. These items must be used in your capacity
as a Scout leader to be deductible.
The costs for uniforms, patches, hats, insignia, neckerchiefs,
name tags, and other uniform parts are fully deductible provided that
they are not of general utility or wear. The cost of upkeep, e.g.,
washing, dry cleaning, etc. is also deductible.
The costs for uniforms, patches, pins, insignia, etc. that are
bought for collection or trading is not deductible. However, if such
items are later donated to a Scout museum or similar non-profit group,
their fair market value at the time of donation may be deducted.
Patches and other Scouting memorabilia that are sold as fund
raisers for Scouting activities are deductible to the extent that
the cost exceeds the fair market value of the items purchased.
Instructional materials (books, charts, maps, etc.) that
you purchase for use in the education of Scouts is deductible.
Fees for instructional courses taken to better qualify you as a
Scout leader, or to prepare you for activities that you will be doing
with your Scout unit, are deductible. Examples include lifesaving, CPR, kayaking,
rock climbing, etc.
Background materials that you purchase for and use in
instruction and preparation for a Scout activity (e.g., books on the ecology
of the Florida Keys in preparation for a trip to the Florida Sea Base,
or language books and tapes for a Scouting trip to a foreign country).
These same items are not deductible if you buy them for your
personal use. You must be using them to provide service to youth for them
to be deductible.
If you publish a troop newsletter or use a computer in
other ways in the performance of your duties as a Scout leader, you will
probably have some computer-related deductible expenses. These would include
the cost of paper, toner, ribbons, labels, Scout related software, etc.
If the computer is used for other purposes, some of these expenses
will have to be prorated.
If you use an on-line-service in the performance of your duties as
a Scout leader; for example, to plan trips away from home, to obtain
resource material, to obtain advice on Scouting related problems,
... you may deduct that portion of the fees for this service that
you use in the performance of your Scout duties.
Remember, if you plan to deduct such expenses, you will need to
keep records that can substantiate your Scout usage of such a service.
A daily log book of time and usage would suffice.
Purchases at Fund-Raising Events
If you purchase goods that are sold at a Fund-Raising
event, you may only deduct the difference between what you paid for the item
and its fair market value. For example, if you purchase a candy bar for $1.00
and it is normally sold in stores for 50c, you may deduct 50c as a donation.
You may deduct this amount even if you buy the candy bar for someone else.
If you have your car washed at a Fund-Raising event, you can only
deduct the amount above what the fair market value of a car wash is
in your area.
Raffle tickets are not approved for Scout Fund-Raising
events. They are also not deductible.
Donation of Property
The donation of property, stocks, and other similar items
given to a Scout organization can usually be deducted at their fair market
value. Check with IRS Publication 526 and your tax advisor.
Used equipment that is donated to a Scout organization is
deductible at its fair market value at the time of donation. New equipment
that is bought for a Scouting organization is deductible at its purchase price
if it is donated shortly after purchase and has not been used personally.
If you donate property to an individual Scout unit, that unit
should be registered as a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization with the
IRS for the donation to be deductible. If the Scout unit is not so registered
but its sponsor is, you can make the donation to the sponsor with the direction
that it is for the Scout unit.
Use of Property
If you let Scouts use your property (boat, car, pool,
trailer, motor home, vacation home, office building, etc.), you may deduct
the actual out-of-pocket operating expenses (fuel, utilities, etc.) associated
with this use.
You cannot deduct the estimated rental value for the use of the
property. You also cannot deduct any loss in value due to damage that
may happen because of its use; at least, you cannot deduct it under Charitable
Donation of Food
Donations of food for a Scout sponsored food drive can be
deducted for what the food costs at a grocery store. If you make a
special trip to purchase the food, the mileage for the trip is also
If you make a donation to a Scouting organization and
receive a premium of significant value (more than just a thank-you cup), the
value of this premium must be deducted from your donation or claimed as income.
Some premiums, for example plaques given to Friends of Scouting, are amortized
over the number of years for which there are spaces for recognition, thus
making them not of significant value for any given year. Most Scouting organizations
are aware of this IRS condition and adjust premiums accordingly.
Partially Reimbursed Expenses
If you are partially reimbursed for expenses you incur as
a Scout leader, you may deduct the difference between your cost you paid and
the amount you are reimbursed. If you received more than the actual cost,
this is income.
The expenses you pay for Scouts that are family members
are not deductible.
Expenses you pay for Scouts who are not family members are
deductible if you pay this money to your Scout organization and these Scouts
are selected by your Scout organization to receive assistance.
Expenses you pay for other adults to provide service are not
You cannot deduct the value of your personal time contributed
to Scout activities, even if you would normally be paid for the
service you are giving.
You cannot deduct child care expenses as a charitable
contribution even if such service is necessary for you to do your volunteer
A reliable written record is required for IRS purposes. To
be reliable, you must make the record at or near the time of the activity;
or, you must have other proof of your participation in the activity.
A marked up calendar with places, activities, mileage, etc. will
suffice for records; but, a more organized record would be better. A
Troop calendar with annotations is also acceptable.
Electronic instruments (computers, calculators, ...) may be used to make
these records as well as the normal methods of writing.
Make it a practice to keep receipts for all Scouting related
expenses. Put them in an envelope and keep them with your other tax
Receipts are needed for all contributions and out-of-pocket
expenses that are more than $250. If you have out-of-pocket expenses that
exceed this amount, e.g., for transportation to a Scouting event that is not
directly paid to the Scouting organization, you need to keep the receipts for
the travel and have documentation from the Scout organization that you were
serving in a leadership capacity for the trip.
Payments that Cross Years
If you are a leader in an event that crosses over tax
years (such as the next World Jamboree in Chile), or if you pay fees this year
for an event that will happen next year, you need to claim the expenses
in the year that they are paid.
Payments made by a bank credit card, debit card, or electronic
transfer are deductible in the year you make the transaction.
Payment for goods or services billed to you by a merchant,
telephone company, etc. is deductible in the year you pay the bill.
If you are a parent of a Scout that is included in the
unit or units that you give service to, you should be aware that in some circumstances
the IRS has determined that such a parent was involved only to make
sure that the program was available to their child. If such a determination
is made, most or all of what would otherwise be a deductible charitable expense
could be disallowed.
If audited, you should be prepared to show how your service is of
benefit to other youth and the group as a whole. Examples of this
include being a merit badge councilor, being a leader in events that your child
is not involved in, helping leaders in other units, etc.
If You are Audited
If you have been honest in what you have claimed as Scouting
related deductions and had kept good records that substantiate these deductions,
you have nothing to worry about if you are audited.
The majority of disallowed charitable deductions are because of
inadequate records that cannot be substantiated.
If your auditor should disagree with you on the deductibility of an
item you have claimed as a deduction and you believe it is a valid
deduction, you have the right to demand an on-the-spot conference with the
auditor's superior. It is to your advantage to do this.
In all negotiations, it is important to be respectful, honest, and
courteous; something you are probably well used to doing. Being argumentative
and defensive is not to your advantage.
The information provided here is believed to be correct and
accurate at the time this paper was prepared. However, tax laws and the
publications describing them are often vague or incomplete. Because
of this, they are open to different interpretations by
different people. It is not unusual to receive several different
answers to a single tax question if the answer is not explicitly spelled
out in the law or supporting publications.
Any charitable deduction you claim is your responsibility. If you
have any doubt as to the deductibility of an expense you are thinking
of claiming, check with your tax advisor.
If you know of cases or tax rulings that disagree with information
stated here, have additional information that should be added, or if
you have noticed any inaccuracies in the above information, please report them
to the person currently maintaining this document:
Thomas N. Turba
The following is excerpted from an article that appeared
in THE SALT LAKE
TRIBUNE on December 26, 2001. I hope it motivates others!
Altamont (UTAH) teen sews up all 123 achievement
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind,
obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
For Jedadiah Curry, add ambitious, goal-oriented and downright driven. The 16
year old Eagle Scout has 123 merit badges to prove it.
For the record, that is every Boy Scout merit badge-from American
Business to Woodwork, including some that have since been discontinued.
Jed completed the requirements for his final merit badge last month,
making him one of only a handful of Scouts to pull off such a feat and
fulfilling a goal he has had since age 8.
People are even more surprised when they learn about the physical ailments Jed
endures. For starters, the Altamont teen pops 15 to 20 pills several times
a day to combat cystic fibrosis, a strength-sapping genetic disease he was
diagnosed with as a baby. He spends at least an hour a day hooked up to
a machine that breaks up mucus in his lungs, and packs a battery-powered device
on camping trips that does the same thing.
To treat his Type I Diabetes, Jed checks his blood sugar four or five times a
day and gives himself insulin injections.
Then there is the asthma. It needs attention from time to time, too.
All these maladies might lead one to believe Jed is a sickly kid. He's
not. He swims, runs, plays baseball and performs in plays.
After getting all these badges, Jed now has a better idea of his strengths and
weaknesses, his likes and dislikes. He says that is part of their value.
This was published on December 21, 2001 by The Post-Standard
in New York.
HEADLINE: Boy Scout councils agree to merge
By Larry Richardson
Two Boy Scouts of America councils that serve more than 10,000 boys in Madison
and five other counties will merge, according to the Land of the Oneidas
Council and the General Herkimer
Committees in each council approved the merger in separate votes Dec. 11. The
merger will become effective Jan. 1.
The boys who belong to those councils, which serve Madison, Oneida, Herkimer
and parts of Fulton, Otsego and Lewis counties, will pick the new council's
"The youngsters of these two areas are in for a thrill ride, and it's
going to be a great opportunity for them," said John C. Harvey, Scout
executive of the Land of the Oneidas Council, who will head the new council.
Harvey, 64, of Whitesboro has headed the Land of the Oneidas Council since it
was formed in 1982.
"The merger will mean upgrading of camps and training programs, and more
high-adventure opportunities, such as (trips to) Philmont (Scout Reservation
in New Mexico) or the Florida Seabase," Harvey said. "It will
make us financially stronger and give us opportunities to do things we
couldn't do as
The new council will continue to operate offices in Utica and Herkimer.
The General Herkimer Council has been without a Scout executive since
February, when Steve Silverman was promoted to a position in Albany.
"We will hire a full-time senior district executive to handle the
Herkimer area and another professional to be council program director,"
The council will sell Camp Ballou, which has more than 100 acres near
"The income from that sale will go to construct a maintenance center in
the Adirondacks near Woodgate, which will be responsible for the maintenance
of the council's other three camps," Harvey
This is only part of the story, for the rest visit: http://www.syracuse.com/news/syrnewspapers/index.ssf?/newsstories/2001
It was in October of 2000 when this old man came into my auto parts store
looking for a replacement part for his very old motor home. Well, the only
other one like it would be in the Smithsonian. So, I took a little super-glue
and epoxy and fixed his old part, a little Boy Scout handyman work.
Then, while he was paying for the supplies I used, that's when it all
happened. He looked over my shoulder, pointed, and asked with an old rough
voice, "Is that a Boy Scout shirt I see hanging there?"
I looked over my shoulder into my office and said, "Yes, I just got it
back from the cleaners."
"Are you a Boy Scout leader?" he asked.
"Well, yes I am. I have a troop here, right up the road," I said.
Then he asked, "Can I ask you a few questions about that?"
"Sure!" I said, thinking what's this all about?
He asked, "Do you still have meetings every week, where the boys learn
their skills, like knot tying, knife and ax, and fire building?"
"Yes we do. Ours are on Monday nights," I said and added, "Knot
tying and fire building are still some of the first things a Scout gets to
"How about outings? Do you guys still do that, you know, go on hikes and
campouts?" he asked.
I said, "Sure we do, at least once a month, sometimes more." Then I
went on to explain some of what our troop had done and where we were going
He then said, "I was in Boys Scouts! That was a long time ago, during the
Great Depression. It was real hard to be a Scout then. We didn't have any
money to buy food, let alone a Scout uniform. So our Scoutmaster let us wear
what we could. I wore an old work shirt of my Dad's. I would sew all our
patches that we earned on that old shirt and boy! It looked real sharp! Do you
still earn patches like that?" he asked.
"We sure do!" I said.
"You know we had a meeting every week, learned new skills and things. On
the weekend, once a month, our Scoutmaster would take us for a hike. We would
go out in the forest somewhere he had planned out. We boys would set up camp
and get a big fire going. That was our job. Then that old Scoutmaster would
pull out some hot dogs. Where or how he was able to get those, I don't know,
but all us boys would roast them over our fire. Oh, they tasted so good!"
he said. I could almost taste them myself. By now I noticed the old guy was
red in the eyes.
He went on and said, "Those were great times. I had to leave Scouts
because my family had to move. I lost contact with that Scoutmaster after
that. Then came WWII and I went to fight the Japanese on some island." He
didn't tell me the name of it or exactly what had happened.
But he said, "A few of my buddies and I were trapped by ourselves on that
island, for a little more than a week. It was because of my Scout skills that
all of us survived. They asked me how I learned to do those skills and I told
them it was my old Scoutmaster that had taken the time to teach me. We all
agreed that if we made it back, I would have to go and thank him for saving
our lives and I promised I would."
Then he said, "Well, when I did come home, the first chance I had, I went
to see him and tell him thanks. But when I got there I found his mother and
she told me that he, too, had gone to war, only he went to Europe. He was one
of the first to land on the beaches of Normandy."
Then with tears in his eyes, he said, "You know, he died a hero
there!" He paused for a moment then said, "I never got a chance to
thank him for saving our lives. I'd like it if I could to thank you, for him,
for all of us?" he asked. I was speechless and all I could do was shake
my head yes.
As I put my hand out to shake, he took my hand and pulled me in close to give
me a hug. I could hear him cry as he said, "Thanks, from all the
guys." Then he whispered, "You keep helping all those boys like you
do. They don't know it, but they need you more now then I did then."
Letting go, he turned and started to walk for the door, then he stopped,
turned around and pointed his old finger toward me. Then, with tears in his
eyes he said, "You know! I'm 84 years old, my wife died eight years ago.
It's because of Scouting that I've been camping ever since. Those years as a
Scout were the best years of my life!"
I've not see him since that day. But, I will remember him all my life!
Scoutmaster, Troop 787
Mission Viejo, CA