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The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care

December 18, 2013

Possible Tax Deductions for Volunteers

Programs working with volunteers may want to inform them that they may qualify for tax deductions for out-of-pocket expenses (e.g. gas expenses) related to their volunteer duties. Only out-of-pocket expenses that are not reimbursed by the host organization may qualify as a charitable contribution for tax deductions. For example, if a Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program does not reimburse their volunteer Ombudsmen for their gas expenses due to travel necessary to perform their ombudsman duties then the volunteer’s mileage may count for this specific tax deduction.
In order to file for tax deductions related to charitable contributions the host organization must be considered a “qualified organization.” Most organizations, other than churches and governments, must apply for this status through the IRS. Volunteers can verify whether their host organization is a qualified organization by using the “Exempt Organizations Select Check” tool on the IRS website or by calling 1-877-829-5500 (individuals that are deaf or have a hearing deficient and TTY/TDD equipment may call 1-800-829-4059).
The 2013 IRS Charitable Contributions booklet (publication 526) says the following about out-of-pocket expenses and car expenses (Table 2 includes questions and answers for examples of volunteer expenses):
Out-of-pocket expenses in giving services: Although you cannot deduct the value of your services given to a qualified organization, you may be able to deduct some amounts you pay in giving services to a qualified organization. The amounts must be:

  • Unreimbursed,
  • Directly connected with the services,
  • Expenses you had only because of the services you gave, and
  • Not personal, living, or family expenses.
Car expenses: You can deduct as a charitable contribution any unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses, such as the cost of gas and oil, 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.

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Volunteer Management Resources

Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative Webinar
The recording and materials from the recent Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative (ANVC) webinar titled, “Volunteers and Risk Management: Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Resources We Can All Use” are now available on the ANVC website. This webinar reviews the volunteer risk management resources created by the SMP Resource Center that all programs that work with volunteers could incorporate into their programs. These materials were created as part of the SMP Volunteer Risk and Program Management (VRPM) project. The complete set of SMP VRPM tools and resources are available here.
The next ANVC webinar is titled, “PowerUP! It’s Working!” and is scheduled for Thursday, December 19, 2:00-3:00 ET. During this webinar two aging services experts will share why and how self-directed volunteer teams are critical to the future of volunteerism with older adults and the impact they’ve achieved in their organizations and local communities. To register visit the ANVC website.
VolunteerMatch is a free, online network for volunteer recruitment. In addition to volunteer recruitment, VolunteerMatch also offers a variety of free volunteer management resources in their Learning Center, including free webinars, a monthly nonprofit e-newsletter, a blog and links to books and other resources. Upcoming free webinars include:

  • Wednesday, January 8, 2 ET: Future Forecast: Four Big Shifts that Will Change Volunteerism...for the Better
  • Tuesday, January 14, 2 ET: Creating a Comprehensive and Engaging Volunteer Training Program
  • Wednesday, January 15, 2 ET: Walking the Walk: Engage Volunteers in your Volunteer Engagement Program
For more information and to register, visit their website: http://learn.volunteermatch.org/

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Revised Edition of "Advance Directives: Planning for Medical Care in the Event of Loss of Decision-Making Ability" from the Michigan LTCOP Now Available

The Michigan LTCOP has revised its consumer publication, "Advance Directives: Planning for Medical Care in the Event of Loss of Decision-Making Ability."

The revisions were necessary due to changes in Michigan's "Do-Not-Resusciate Procedure Act."  Based on federal law and suveyor's guidelines, nursing homes must inform incoming residents of the OPTION to complete a DNR Order, and must assist any resident in completing the document, if the resident so chooses.

Click here to view the revised copy.

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States Paying Closer Attention to Home Care Worker Laws

A recent article in USA Today revealed how states are paying closer attention to the rules and regulations around home health care workers and home care aides.  Growing concerns over the qualifications and training of some home care workers has sparked scrutiny by consumer advocates and those in favor of home care reform.  For more information, read the article in Home Health Care News.

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CDC Releases First-Ever National Study of Long-Term Care Providers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics has released the first-ever "National Study of Long-Term Care Providers" which includes data on the capacity and operational characteristics of providers, and information about the people cared for in these settings.  The report shows that despite policies meant to encourage home- and community-based care, nursing homes still account for the vast majority of long-term care services.  For more information, read the article in McKnight's.

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West Virginia's Dementia Care Coalition Hosts Hand in Hand Toolkit: Train the Trainer Seminars

West Virginia’s Dementia Care Coalition recently hosted two Hand in Hand Toolkit: Train the Trainer seminars.  The goal of these full day seminars was to encourage nursing homes to pull the toolkit off of their shelves and put it to use in their individual homes.  West Virginia Medical Institute (WVMI), West Virginia’s Quality Improvement Organization (QIO), was the lead sponsor and provided funding for the meeting space and promotional materials.  Other partners included the West Virginia Geriatric Education Center (WVGEC) and the West Virginia Long-term Care Ombudsman Program.  The trainers were WVMI’s two RN Project Co-ordinators for Long-term Care, WVGEC’s training co-ordinator, and the State Long-term Care Ombudsman.

The evaluations for the seminars were extremely positive.  One attendee commented that “I feel the presentation helped me in being able to present the module more effectively to the staff at my facility. I also feel I have a better overview to where I can present & skip portions of the module and still educate the staff appropriately. Today's presentation will also help with my time management skills.”  Based on the response, more seminars are being planned in other areas of the state.  For additional information contact Suzanne Messenger, Suzanne.E.Messenger@wv.gov, WV State Ombudsman.

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New Resource: Mentalhealth.gov

The Administration recently launched www.mentalhealth.gov, a new website featuring easy-to-understand information about basic signs of mental health problems, how to talk about mental health, and how to find help.

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Experience of Voters with Disabilities in the 2012 Election Cycle

The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency, recently released a new report, “Experience of Voters with Disabilities in the 2012 Election Cycle.”  The report gauges the effectiveness of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).  Enacted by Congress in 2002, HAVA sought to ensure that Americans with disabilities could vote independently and privately alongside their non-disabled peers.  Read the full report.

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About The Gazette

The Gazette is a weekly e-newsletter, published by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. If you do not wish to continue receiving this publication, please unsubscribe. Your contributions and comments are welcome and should be sent to info@theconsumervoice.org. Copyright © 2013.

The Consumer Voice is the leading national voice representing consumers in issues related to long-term care, helping to ensure that consumers are empowered to advocate for themselves. We are a primary source of information and tools for consumers, families, caregivers, advocates and ombudsmen to help ensure quality care for the individual. The Consumer Voice's mission is to represent consumers at the national level for quality long-term care, services and supports.

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